At its heart, The Marriage Plot
is a story of what love puts people through, not necessarily of romance itself. It's the story of what happens to people because of love and how it changes them. English major Madeleine, who has been the apple of Mitchell's eye from day one, begins a relationship with moody, intellectual Leonard, whose brilliance hides a secret. Mitchell figures he can wait for Madeleine, and begins to travel the world after college seeking wonders and spiritual enlightenment. And Madeleine learns that love in real life doesn't quite go the way it does in Jane Austen's world.
Sometimes this book came off as a bit pretentious, spouting off names of long-dead writers and seeming rather important about it. I suppose it's because this story revolves around the lives of very well-read college students who took their studies rather seriously. It didn't exactly turn me off, but sometimes I did wonder where the story went.
This book did get me thinking, though, and not because of the mass of the intellectual jabber it was filled with. It treats with the nature of a relationship, the dynamics of power and how relationships can change you for the worse (and happily you accept the change). If I were Madeleine, would I have behaved any differently? If I were Mitchell, would I have waited? What would I have done at all if I were Leonard? I don't know. I suppose I don't really want to know.