Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: Middlemarch by George Eliot

Book: Middlemarch by George Eliot
Genre: Classic
Rating: B+
For: Book Club
From: Hmmm.. I have no idea.... some store I'm guessing!

I remember loving this book the first time around, but sadly, it seemed to drop in points just a bit for me this time. I think my brain capacity to "get" these classic books has diminished! Oh boy, we could go on and on speculating the reasons for that assumption! An idea for another post perhaps? Ah, perfect. I need ideas!

BEWARE: SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW (that's because I assume most people reading this post have probably already read the book, so I'm giving the whole plot away... okay? Okay.)

So, here's the thing. The story itself is fun and interesting. There's this girl who decides to marry this old guy. She has a bunch of romantic notions about how wonderful it's going to be to help him with his scholarly pursuits. Of course that's NOT how it shakes down and he ends up acting like she is in the way all the time and brushes her off constantly. Why he ever wanted to marry her in the first place, I don't know. A trophy wife? Anyway, now she is sad and then in walks the gorgeous (dark and curly headed, hello) cousin and bam, the sparks start flying. But they hide them, they don't acknowledge them.  At least they thought they didn't. But Mr. Old Husband totally gets it and suddenly he's jealous, so when he dies, guess what he goes and does? He says that if she and the cousin get married, she gets no money! And that's a lot of money to not get.

Meanwhile, there's this doctor, newly come to town, and he marries the rich spoiled girl, again I have no idea why. But actually, he truly loves her I think. But then financial trouble ensues and she mopes and he worries and they get mad at each other and things are bad. But when the above mentioned cousin comes over to sing with her, she perks up!

Meanwhile, there's another old dude that dies and in the midst of his will reading excitement this stranger shows up and suddenly, he's getting all the money. Then he (I think it's him, or is it another guy? I got mixed up.) realizes that there's a connection between the above mentioned cousin and the banker dude in town, and that the banker dude was a bad bad man... but in the past. Oh, and then when he lends money to the above mentioned doctor just after he helps the stranger, who of course dies, everyone ponders what REALLY happened. So now everyone and everything is all messed up.

Meanwhile, our heroine sees the cousin and the rich spoiled girl singing together. And then holding hands! Oh no! But she couldn't be with him anyway, so what does it matter? Nevertheless, she is devastated!

Meanwhile, there's Fred and Mary who are truly the only normal people in this whole story, but they don't show up very much really. So that's sad too.

And suddenly, everything gets fixed and all is well! Don't you love it when that happens!?

So see, the story is kinda fun and crazy and the reading of it goes all just fine when stuff is happening...when there's conversation...when we are being shown what the characters are feeling. But when we start being TOLD what's going on, that's when my reading eyes glaze over. Wow, there's lots and lots and lots of in between rumination. So it was like things would happen and get crazy, then they would slow down and get boring, then crazy, then boring, over and over again for 700 pages.

Obviously, I'm over simplifying this story and I know there's lots of deep down wonderful literary stuff to chew on here, but this time through, I just didn't appreciate it much and by the end, just wanted it over. It's sad to admit this, but there you have it.

Bottom line: I loved the crazy parts, and suffered through the boring ones.

Other Reviews:

Nishita's Rants and Raves
Things Mean A Lot
That's What She Read
Alternate Readality

Tonight, I plan to watch the whole made for TV movie, all seven hours, with a few brave book club members who are crazy enough to join me. It's going to be a blast! I guarantee it! :)


  1. I loved this story. Can't remember the book but enjoyed the series.

  2. Okay. Admission time. This English teacher has never read this book. Thanks for the spoiler alert, by the way. :)

    Honestly, I have a lot of "classics" that I need to read, but I do have this one around the house to read at some point!

  3. I admit, I skipped part of your review because I haven't read this one but I plan to . . . eventually! I need to read some Eliot period.

  4. *slow claps* Bravo for even attempting to outline a synopsis!
    I'm sorry you didn't like it as much this time around but I'm glad you stuck with it and hopefully we aren't the only two who read it.

  5. Haha! I loved this post. I enjoyed Middlemarch but your review is making me laugh.

  6. Ann: I look forward to watching it again tonight, I remember loving it last time.

    Becky: Hey! You better hop to it! :)

    Reviews: My favorite Eliot is The Mill on the Floss... I think.

    Jenny: Did I even get it right at all? Yeah, it's going to be an interesting book club. I look forward to tonight though! Even if it's just you and me!

    Cindi:Ha! Glad to make you laugh, that's what I was going for. Hopefully I didn't make too many Middlemarch lovers hate me...

  7. I love this book! I read it in 1999, 2009 and plan to read it again in 2019, etc.

  8. oh this one always looks too looooooooong to read and plus I know the ending.

    My mums favorite book though



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