East Bay Book Club Message Board › Meeting Recap: November 2012 Contemporary Book Discussion (The Marriage Plot

Meeting Recap: November 2012 Contemporary Book Discussion (The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides)

Anthony
anthonylee06
Group Organizer
Union City, CA
Post #: 28
The Marriage Plot is a novel by the author of Middlesex, which was an award-winning bestseller. Meeting attendees who read Middlesex before certainly noticed differences between that book and The Marriage Plot, many thinking that Middlesex is a much better novel than The Marriage Plot. For those who haven't read Middlesex, many comments about The Marriage Plot were still negative.

The first discussion question was simply for people to share initial thoughts. Much of the meeting was devoted to discussion stemming from that one discussion question. Some of the things said included the following:
- The book was disjointed and frustrating to read.
- Loved the book, could identify with college life of the 1980s
- The author wrote about the depression and mania of bipolar disorder well.
- The book portrays the limited perspectives of people in their 20s, especially with issues of life, love, and sex.
- The character of Madeline was very passive and hard to relate to.
- In fact, Madeline's parents seemed more likable.
- The writing was messy, with lots of character development and extra details
- One good thing about the novel: how its ending was open-ended
- The character of Leonard was a scumbag in the beginning, but became more likable later.
- Another good thing about the book: multiple perspectives of the same events
- Madeline did have two positive traits: loyalty and intelligence.
- A general question: is it necessary to like a story's characters, such as madeline. Some said not really. I said that good stories have conflicts for the central character to overcome. There should be imperfections for that conflict, but also positive traits to like the character along the way. For me, The Marriage Plot wasn't clear about what the central conflict was, and characters stayed the same throughout, without transforming for the better.

In the end, 5 people liked the book, 1 person had a middle-of-the-road opinion of the book, and 13 people didn't like the book. But like I always say, I don't care if you don't like the book. I only hope that you like the discussion. Thankfully, everyone seemed to enjoy the discussion.
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