Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Middlemarch

Title Middlemarch
By George Eliot
For Book Club summer reading project
Source I own it

First sentence Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress.

The tale of several people in the 1800s in the town Middlemarch.

General thoughts
I'm sure in the time I've been plugging through this book I've mentioned that I watched the movie back in the spring and wasn't horribly impressed. Not that I hated it, I just wasn't enthralled. So, when my book club decided to read this one I was a little depressed. I'd intended to read it at some point but, after watching the movie, I wanted a long enough break that I could forget most of the story line. In a way, I think it actually was probably a good thing that I'd just watched the movie. It helped me stick with the book. All that being said, I still didn't LOVE this one. I didn't hate it, but I just didn't really care for it. The political talk bored me to tears. The disgusting gossip efficiently ticked me off. The romance of some of the characters had me rolling my eyes. And Eliot's random musings informing me that I shouldn't judge her characters had me a little upset. Sure, it's a great bit of wisdom to learn not to judge people but I wanted to! I didn't like some of the characters and it's a book, the characters aren't real, if I want to hate some shouldn't I be allowed too?! I did learn two very interesting things from this book. One, it's a becoming, marriageable quality in a woman to have a fondness for Geraniums. (Dang! I knew there was a reason I was 30 and still single, I've never liked Geraniums.) Two, it's equally appealing in a marriageable man to have a trout stream. (Yet, another reason I'm single. Anyone know any single guys who own a trout stream?)

Holy crap, there's a lot so bear with me.
Dorthea: She started off such a know-it-all snot and was suddenly such a sweet, kind, generous person I had a hard time with her. I admired her going back to Rosamonde after everything that had happened and still offering help but she just wasn't floating my boat.
Mr Casaubon: Here was one of those characters Eliot told me not to judge. This man was determined to be miserable so who the heck cares what became of him or his stupid selfish feelings?!
Celia: I liked her better at the beginning. By the end she was the know-it-all and rather over-the-top silly to me.
James Chettam: I really liked him in the movie so I was horribly disappointed that in the book he was such a control freak! He made me so mad!
Mr Brook: I actually really liked this silly guy. He might have been a bit arrogant and naive but he lets Dorthea do as she likes, and the way he talked had me smiling nearly every time he opened his mouth.
Will Ladislaw: Oh. My. Gosh! Seriously? This guy was so overly bite-his-knuckles dramatic I wanted to slap him. How could anyone like that?! Take a chill pill, dude!
Tertius Lydgate: Ah, here was a somewhat reasonable man with a good heart who falls pray to a pair of pretty eyes and blond hair and for that he deserved what he got. Sorry. No mercy here.
Rosamonde: The epitome of every skinny little blond who connives her way into a man's life just to make it a living hell! Selfish and petty, I bet she likes geraniums!
Farebrother: I've got to like a guy that gives up the woman he loves out of pure selflessness.
Nicholas Bulstrode: I could almost sympathize with him. Sure, he was so obsessed with what people thought about him and money that he lied his way to the top and practically murders Raffles by his own hand, but I can sympathize with that fear of what others think of you. Stupid but true.  
Harriet Bulstrode: She made me cry when she forgave her husband and just accepted him.
Caleb and Susan Garth: Caleb is almost too perfect but I loved him. He and Susan felt the most real of all the characters.
Mary Gath and Fred Vincy: I saved the best for last. I loved that Fred became the man he did, a better man, because of his love for a good, sensible woman! I love their story best of all.

Would I recommend it? 
If you like classics, yes, but be warned, Jane Austen these are not.


  1. I picked up this book from a used bookstore last year and haven't had the motivation to pick it up yet :P One of my English profs told me it was her favourite Victorian novel so I'll have to give it a try eventually. No one could ever replace Jane Austen in my heart though! Nice review :)

  2. LOVE the list of character impressions! Awesome! And I agree, I like Fred and Mary best of all too. I have lots to look forward to don't I though! I look forward to watching the movie...

  3. Natalie, It's definitely a commitment.

    Suey, Well, at least Mary and Fred were in it. I don't know if I would have been able to handle it without them.

  4. I kinda wish I was in your book club.