review

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

life in middlemarchMy Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

Crown, 2014

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher via Blogging for Books.

Before I started reading lots of crime fiction I was an English major who read a bit of everything. I read Middlemarch just a few months before I graduated and was very impressed: it was a soapy, serialized drama, it was serious, and Eliot was so generous to her characters. I picked out My Life in Middlemarch not only because of my fondness of the book but because of my fondness of Mead’s writing in the New Yorker (lots of profiles as well as other pieces, and her book about the wedding industrial complex is entertaining and fascinating too). If you don’t love Middlemarch, I’d avoid this book.

This is a biblio-memoir, which means it’s part a close reading of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, part memoir of Rebecca Mead as she’s reread the book since she was a teenager, part biographical sketch of Eliot and those close to her, and part a travelogue as Mead tries to understand the world Eliot wrote in and lived in.  It’s a book that I dipped in and out of because the structure, which follows the structure of each installment of the novel, didn’t have the forward momentum I usually look for in my reading. That’s not to say the book was uninteresting: I just felt the need to take breaks occasionally.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead”

  1. I am fascinated by George Eliot’s life. She belonged to the Rationalist School. She was quite an intellectual. I haven’t read “Middlemarch,” couldn’t get through it. However, friends tell me that the book is also about people marrying for love, something that wasn’t done much in her day, when marriage was about contracts, property, finances, social standing, family alliances and arrangements, etc.
    I don’t think I could read this, but am glad to read the review.

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