Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
You don’t have to have read Middlemarch to enjoy this book length reflection on and study of it, but My Life in Middlemarch may make you want to get your hands on a copy of George Eliot's classic novel. Layered and deeply considered, My Life in Middlemarch is a fairly brief (278 pages of text) and accessible book fully worthy of its insightfully rich subject. The writing manages to transition gracefully between the book’s three roles: memoir of the author’s experiences reading Middlemarch, brief biography of that novel’s boundary breaking Victorian era author George Eliot--pen name of Mary Anne Evans--and literary discussion of Middlemarch and its impact.
Rebecca Mead first read Middlemarch as a teenager, strongly identifying at that time with the intellectual and spiritual yearnings of Dorothea, an earnest young woman whose unfortunate marriage to a much older pedant begins the novel. Mead has continued to reread the book every few years into later adulthood, and though Middlemarch remains a favorite, her appreciation of it continues to evolve. It’s a book Mead feels helped shape her, each reading offering new perspectives on love, marriage, ambition, and personal growth as she moved through her own life.
Reading My Life in Middlemarch was like having a conversation with a well informed, thoughtful friend--though my side of the discussion was obviously in my head. I greatly enjoyed all three aspects of the book--memoir, biography and literary consideration--and it’s deepened and enriched the already significant pleasure I am having as I read Middlemarch for the first time.