The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The first section, set at Brown, is wonderful (particularly if you know English majors, or have recently seen Theresa Rebek's play, Seminar). It so clearly captures the academic experience and pretentions of that time in our lives. Madeleine's love life, her depression over breaking up with Leonard and her lack of clarity on what her future holds was so much like what my friends went through it was almost as though the author had gone to school with us.
Having said that, the other sections aren't quite as strong. Leonard's bipolar episodes certainly mimicked what I know of the disease, while Mitchell's quest for meaning (and a way to forget Madeleine) reminded me of some people I knew but... they just weren't as well written as that first section. The plotting felt predictable, almost as though there was some checklist that needed to be gotten through: manic episode? check. homosexual experience? check. enlightenment deferred? check. etc.