Will you think less of me if I admit that half the reason I was drawn to The Marriage Plot was because I really liked the cover? I mean, it was Jeffrey Eugenides, I assumed it was going to be at least okay. But it was the cover that sealed the deal.
I thought it was an interesting take on a frustrated, literary, college girl and the two boys who love her. I thought it was an interesting take on mental illness, in the years before you fully understand that it's a disease and not something to be romanticized.
On goodreads and amazon, I saw how many people were talking about all the classic literary allusions and how that made the novel so special. But I only caught a few of the more obvious ones. I'm sure I would appreciate it more if someone pointed out all the rest of them. I see no shame in having perspectives of art spelled out for you.
I really liked Curtis Sittenfeld's American Wife, even though I wasn't supposed to because it was loosely based on the life of Laura Bush, and not in a flattering way. But I love Laura Bush and I really liked American Wife and I could separate the two just fine.
I received Prep through BookMooch after someone told me that it was one of their favorites. And judging by the comments I received when I mentioned on the HH FB page that I was reading it, it lands on quite a few "favorites" lists.
I'm not sure how old she is now, but I think Sittenfeld is one of those writers who truly, deeply, remembers what it's like to be very young, lost past when most of us have blocked the memory from our heart. I found the emotions in Prep to take me back to a time when I was equal parts confident and insecure, and when my actions could be wholly mistaken for the opposite of what I meant. The same could all be said of me now, but the formula is totally different.
Prep was uncomfortable and affirming, which all coming-of-age novels should be. I was less concerned with the main character's romantic involvements (or lack thereof) than I was with her relationship with her parents.
I guess that officially makes me an old fogie?
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