So, it turns out that The Marriage Plot did not, in fact, win the Pulitzer Prize. Nope, it was Middlesex. Funny, how the cover states “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.” Now one could argue that since it was underneath Jeffrey Eugenides’ name that the publisher is not stating that The Marriage Plot is indeed the winner. However, they could have done what many other people do—afix a sticker to the cover stating “by the author of the Pulitzer-Prize winning novel Middlesex.”
To sum up my complaints about the cover:
1. engagement ring on the cover
2. title is The Marriage Plot
3. false advertisement
If I look back at the novel, without thinking that it won the Pulitzer, then it stands up better in my mind. I can see how The Marriage Plot is supposed to pay homage to and criticize Victorian novels at the same time. The woman has a choice between two men and her lifestyle will be drastically different depending on her choice. She just graduated and doesn’t have a job and is too proud to live her folks, so she has to figure out a way to live without them. (Although she gladly accepts their gift of a convertible car.)
Perhaps I shouldn’t hold the title against the book. I didn’t want to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer because the main character’s name is Buffy. However, I got over it because it was tongue-in-cheek. I’m not sure The Marriage Plot delves too far from where I thought and hoped it would. The novel is filled with clever witticisms and spot-on caricatures of hipster intellectuals, but a brilliant novel has to be more than that. It can’t just be bits and pieces of great descriptions. Yes, the men in Madeline’s life both both allow Eugenides to dabble in minor plots but this isn’t enough to carry the novel. There should be a narrative force that drives the novel.
Once again, my apologies for not doing proper research on a book I wrote about. But once again, I’d like to say, false advertisement: