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“A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after success.”
Summary: In Middlemarch, England in the 1830s, the lives of three couples are intricately - if not always knowingly - connected. Dorothea Brooke is a lively and clever young woman with big dreams. She wants to do something "great," and believes that helping Mr. Casaubon with his research project. Too late she learns that marriage is not what she expected. When Casaubon's cousin Will Lydgate moves to town, we learn that he, too, has over-estimated his compatability with wife Rosalind. His efforts to appease Rosalind's vanity and greed push the couple into debt. Mary Garth, for her part, keeps Fred Vincy at arms length. Mary is his childhood sweetheart, but Mary refuses to marry him until he proves his worth. What will become of these residents of Middlemarch? Are there any happy endings? This is a classic of English literature that may appeal to readers who like Victorian fiction.
Type of Reading: independent reading
Recommended Age: read together: 14 and Up; read yourself: 14 and Up
Young Reader Reaction: Middlemarch is a once-in-a-lifetime book that you absolutely must read before you die. George Eliot is a clever author and she manages to create an intricate web of relationships and events. Although the plot may be too complex (or seem boring) to middle school students, older readers who like character stories will enjoy it. This is definitely must-read for both boys and girls.
Adult Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Pros: Teens and young adults who love Downton Abbey will love this book.
Cons: It is quite lengthy. Another option for enjoying this classic would be as an audiobook.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a wonderful read, but unless you are a lit major, not one you'd keep on your shelf.