My Life in Middlemarch
Crown January 28, 2014
A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review
Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot’s Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch. The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as “one of the few English novels written for grown-up people,” offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not.
In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that deftly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot’s masterpiece–the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure–and brings them into our world. Offering both a fascinating reading of Eliot’s biography and an exploration of the way aspects of Mead’s life uncannily echo that of Eliot herself, My Life in Middlemarch is for every ardent lover of literature who cares about why we read books, and how they read us.
I have always had an affinity towards British Victorian literature, without saying Middlemarch and Eliot are among my favorites. I was thrilled when I learned someone wrote a book regarding their intimate events reading Middlemarch. Mead provides the reader with such detail on Eliot along with her esteemed peers.
Mead is a competent writer possessing a style that’s attractive and enthralling. Her words glide across the pages in such a sleek manner only boosting the entire narrative and overall reading adventure. Her passion with Middlemarch was evident by her own personal recollection of its influence in her encounters as well as it influencing her life.
If you hold a fondness as I do for Victorian literature, with all certitude you will appreciate this book and Mead’s personal insertions. A novel covering a readers journey, writing and books, this is a must read. Completely enjoyed my time with Mead.