Rebecca Mead first read Middlemarch while living in a coastal town in England preparing to go to Oxford. She continues to reread Middlemarch throughout her life, and at different moments it provides new insight to her experiences. In this book, Mead discusses the role Middlemarch had played in her life, and how the themes of Eliot's novel are reflected in her experiences. She also discusses her research into the book, George Eliot, and her own memoirs.
Mead provides some interesting points about George Eliot and Middlemarch, but I thought there was too much going on. I wish Mead had picked one or two of these topics to work with and not all of them. It felt a little scattered to be reading about George Eliot one moment, what someone else has written about the time period, Mead's own life, and then about the actual novel Middlemarch. There would have been more depth to this book if only a couple of these topics had been focused on.
I do identify with Mead's experience with reading. Sometimes, there is a book that can continue to captivate you throughout your life. You do not outgrow it, rather you gain new insight into the material as you mature. That is a sign of an incredible book. She discusses how the themes of love being complex, morality, failure, and other major issues Middlemarch raises influenced her own experiences in her life.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher*. This did not change my review, but it did provide me with an early copy. I did like learning more about George Eliot and the book Middlemarch. If you really enjoy George Eliot and Middlemarch, I would recommend giving this book a try. There is a lot of information scattered throughout the book. I personally would recommend trying a biography of Eliot instead, but the personal tone of this book might appeal more to some people.
* Crown Publishing does not require a review or stipulate what kind of review should be given if you are inclined to review the book. It was simply part of a promotional event for their book. Winning this book does not change my review. It merely provides me with a book I might not have heard about or gotten to as soon.