Something that I thought was going to be a drudgery turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I was sad when it ended. That’s saying something when you’re talking about an eight hundred and thirty eight page novel. Downton Abbey has got nothin’ on this.
Like I said before, the thing that I loved most, and the thing I least expected to discover, about Eliot’s writing was her amazing sense of humour. The last two novels that we’ve read for the podcast have been Leacock Humour Award winners and I can honestly say that I laughed out loud at Middlemarch more than I did while reading both of the other novels combined. One of my favourites is this gem: “In this way it was made clear that Middlemarch had never been deceived, and that there was no need to praise anybody for writing a book, since it was always done by somebody else.”
Another passage that I really enjoyed was this one:
After three months Freshitt had become rather oppressive: to sit like a model for Saint Catherine looking rapturously at Celia’s baby would not do for many hours in the day, and to remain in that momentous babe’s presence with persistent disregard was a course that could not have been tolerated in a childless sister. Dorothea would have been capable of carrying baby joyfully for a mile if there had been need, and of loving it the more tenderly for that labor; but to an aunt who does not recognize her infant nephew as Bouddha, and has nothing to do for him but to admire, his behavior is apt to appear monotonous, and the interest of watching him exhaustible.
Being the uncle of three adorable, clever, and beautiful nieces, whom I love very much, and whom I wish I could see more than once a year (my sisters might read this, so I have to be clear about this), I found myself chuckling quite heartily at this incredibly accurate description of being the childless aunt (or uncle, as the case may be).
I initially gave Middlemarch four stars on Goodreads, but this caused such an uproar that I decided to change my rating to five stars, recognizing that when I finished the book I was rather hot and cranky, and maybe not thinking clearly (sorry, Laura).
Now I delve into Dombey and Son. Let’s hope that Mr. Dickens doesn’t let me down. The clock is ticking down to September 1st, so I’d better get cracking.