The Marriage Plot

Jeffrey Eugenides The Marriage Plot, is an interesting mix of literature, religion, & biology. The story begins with the deconstruction of classic literature (in college class) and college idealism and then deconstructs the collegial relationships of the 3 main characters. Eugenides strips their relationships down to their raw components and examines how the different dynamics work. He examines how the fundamentals of these relationships cannot survive a change. Ultimately, it’s up to each of the characters to find their own peace. Eugenides tells the brutal truth of difficult relationships & how mental illness can affect everyone.

I liked that Eugenides showed a different side of mental illness and how it can take a toll on a new relationship. It also shows how expectations are forced to change due to the effects of the condition. The novel takes place in the early 80’s. It feels intentional so the stigma of the mental health condition and treatments options don’t have the current political drama attached.

I thought it interesting how the story is structured. The first half of the story is only told from 2 characters and it isn’t until mid-novel that the character undergoing the manic-depressive spikes tells his story. I liked seeing a character from the outside and then getting in his head. It helped emphasize how we often see those suffering from mental health conditions without knowing or understanding what they’re going through.

My favorite part of the novel was when the characters discuss the ridiculousness of having an English degree just because they love to read and write. Felt a little personal, but I liked it!

I really liked this book. It felt real, with all the beauty and ugliness in it.

Read March 2013


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