Saturday, March 5, 2011

Middlemarch by George Eliot

Middlemarch (Signet Classics)Middlemarch by George Eliot

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This classic is a book that can pull the reader entirely into an age long passed with scandals and gossip we can understand, even if our own scandals and gossip are different today. The characters each have their own personalities, yet they are all believable and all have something about them that allows the reader to identify with and often appreciate what they do.

There are many sections in the book that would have been pared down considerably if it had been written today. At times it seemed that Eliot would think of a half dozen ways to say something then, instead of picking one, would use them all. This tendency to wordiness was especially evident in the scenes of the minor characters gossiping or discussing politics.

The women in the book are more interesting than the men. Even Mrs. Bulstrode, a fairly minor character, seemed to have more depth than her husband, a man whose past pushed him into unscrupulous actions. The one exception to this rule was Fred Vincy. It was a pleasure to follow him as he matured throughout the book, from a wild young man with a gambling habit into a hard working adult, capable of living a life based on hard work and dedication to the woman he loved. But it is the young women who make the book great. It is wonderful following the ambitions and problems of Dorothea and Rosamond as one of the women tries to make a contribution to the world and the other tries to make a life of ease and status for herself.

Overall it is a very good read. I had trouble putting it down.

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