Summer is on my mind and that means easy reading. I like books that can easily be picked up and put down on a whim. This book seemed to fit the bill…
Synopsis: It’s the early 1980s the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafe’s on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.
As Madeleine tries to understand why it became laughable to read writers like Cheever and Updike, who wrote about the suburbia Madeleine and most of her friends had grown up in, in favor of reading the Marquis de Sade, who wrote about deflowering virgins in eighteenth-century France, real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead, charismatic loner, college Darwinist, and lost Portland boy suddenly turns up in a semiotics seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old friend Mitchell Grammaticus who”s been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.
Over the next year, as the members of the triangle in this amazing, spellbinding novel graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they learned in school. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology Laboratory on Cape Cod, but can’t escape the secret responsible for Leonard’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love.
Review: A coming of age book that continuously had me waiting for something big to happen. I felt all the characters were melancholy and think Eugenides could have done a better job with making me feel emotion. Although the character development was very thorough, this book just fell flat. After reading (and loving) Middlesex, I found this to be a huge disappointment.
*** out of 5 starts
Virtual Book Club: Please leave your thoughts in the comment section. I’ll address and comment back. Thanks for reading with me!
Next Book: The Great Man by Kate Christensen; Discussion: After May 28