Book: Middlemarch by George Eliot
# 1 on the Telegraph’s 100 novels everyone should read.
What is it about?
Middlemarch is a ‘study of provincial life’ that covers a town called Middlemarch set in the 1820’s – 1830’s in the English countryside. There are no main characters really. I would like to say Dorothea Brooke is, but Lydgate and a number of others are just as important in this story. There are many many characters that the book analyzes and the individual plots all intertwine and relate to each other in the end. It’s basically like watching a TV show that takes place in a town, and each ‘episode’ or chapter is a peak into one family’s house within this town. And at the end, every family is somehow affected by the other, just like it usually is in a small town. There is only one main problem with this book really.
The story is sooo boring! On top of that, I didn’t really like the ‘moral’ of this story and what the writer is trying to prove. All this combined with unrelatable characters that at the end of 700 pages, I didn’t really care what happened to them.
Breaking it down, I hated (I know strong word, but I hated) it, because:
1) Life lessons in the story:
Now I understand why the book is supposedly “written for grown-up people”. The book basically wants to tell every adult out there, emphasize and re-emphasize, that life is not a fairytale. There is no happy endings and no happily ever afters.,which I detest and is so very wrong.
The author wants to show people that life just is life, normal boring life. Don’t expect a fairytale. Life is just BLAH and you just get through it.
(Warning: spoiler alert)
One of the characters married the man she wanted, or thought she wanted. An intellectual man so that she can have intellectual conversations with. Turns out, life and marriage isn’t what she thought they would be. And she felt stuck in her never ending unhappiness. Another character married the exact man she wanted and fought for, the handsome doctor that just got into town. She would be forever unhappy because of his temper and lack of money.. till his death.
Sorry but this is not life. I’m not sure if the author just has a sad life, or was disappointed in her choices, but life does have a fairy tale ending. Sure not like it is depicted in cartoons. But I believe that everyone should have a ‘happily ever after.’ I have found my own version of it, and I hope everyone out there can find their own. Life is anything but BLAH, full of ups and downs, joy and sadness, love and hurt, good and bad but definitely not BLAH. Here’s to hoping that everyone has more ups than downs, more loves than hurts, more joy than sadness, and can find their own happy endings.
2) Unrelatable, unlikeable characters:
At the end of 700 pages, I didn’t relate to any of the many characters in the book, or even like them (maybe only Mary but she is a side character and wasn’t involved a lot in the novel). I didn’t care what happened to them, or if they are happy or not. Let them go live their BLAH lives, as I did not sympathize with any of them.
I have never read a book that I didn’t like, relate, or root for any of the characters in it. I live in the novels I read. I feel joy when they are happy, cry when they are sad. Sometimes, it even takes me awhile to go from one book to another just because I am so wrapped up in the lives of the characters of the previous book. At the end of 700 pages, and around a month of reading and living with this book, I feel nothing, which says a lot of the book I think.
I honestly believe that Jane Austin is a much better writer. Even the Bronte sisters with Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were a better read. I find it very hard to believe that a person actually enjoyed this as a novel. I threw the book clear across the room the second I finished it! If you gave this book to someone, without telling them the name of it, or who the author is; if the person picking up this book knows nothing of the literary accolades it got, I find it very hard to believe that they will actually enjoy it.
So no, I do not recommend this novel to anyone.
Next book on my list is The Lord of the Rings. True it is not my style, full of fictional magical creatures, but nothing can be worse than the book I already read to be honest, and maybe those magical creatures can magic away the hideousness of Middlemarch.