The Marriage Plot was one of the big books of last fall. You’ve probably seen it on the best-seller display at your favorite bookstore or library. I contemplated reading it, but then it dropped further down on my “maybe” list and I eventually forgot about it until the new book group that I joined this year chose it as our second book. (Our first book was A Discovery of Witches, which I read and loved last spring.)
So I gave The Marriage Plot the old college try. At first I enjoyed it, but pretty quickly started losing interest. I liked the writing, but the characters (and plot) didn’t interest me and that’s pretty much a must for me. I don’t have to like the characters, but they do have to be compelling for some reason, any reason, to keep me reading. The characters in this novel lacked blood. I just couldn’t force myself to keep reading and threw in the towel.
How wonderful it was when one sentence followed logically from the sentence before! What exquisite guilt she felt, wickedly enjoying narrative! Madeleine felt safe with a nineteenth-century novel. There were going to be people in it. Something was going to happen to them in a place resembling the world.
Let me end by sharing with you a revealing detail about the particular library copy I was reading. I was struck by the number of dog-eared pages in this edition, particularly considering this is still a hot title with a lengthy waiting list at the library and not a book that’s been around for decades or even a few years:
Between pages 3-82 there are 11 dog-eared pages. The book starts on page 3.
Between pages 83-406 there are exactly 0 dog-eared pages.
So, either people found bookmarks to use or I can safely take it as a sign that I’m not the only one who gave up on this one.