Middlemarch was the May selection of Sisters Book Club. Follow the link to join the discussion about June’s book, The Sibling Effect by Jeffrey Kluger, or to join us in reading July’s book, The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.
So, it took me two months to read this one start to finish, but I did it. And I must say, I enjoyed it. Although I think George Eliot could have told the story just as well in 700 pages as in 840, there weren’t any obvious spots I’d cut; no detailed accounts of politics at the time or how much things cost or nineteenth-century fishing practices.
I loved Dorothea most of any character, mostly because the mistakes she made—which were fairly big—were all made in a spirit of self-sacrifice and doing the right thing. The other characters in the novel run into trouble when they start acting in narrow self-interest. If you live in Middlemarch and lack self-reflection, Eliot has it in for you.
Of course, even with ample self-reflection, that doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s going to be coming up roses for you. This is a realistic book in the sense that the problems people face don’t have clear-cut solutions, and even the “happy” endings aren’t unequivocally happy.
But Dorothea is awesome because she’s unrelenting about following her convictions, no matter what kind of discomfort it leads her into. Even when she’s making really big errors in judgement, I still love her. Read More