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  • Writer's pictureEmily

Finally read a challenge book: The Mill on the Floss

The Mill on the Floss was one of the books on a list I made from the book Novel Interiors. I've meant to read it for years and years- since I saw part of a Masterpiece Theater adaptation back in the nineties. All that I could remember was one final image that gave away the ending.

This was my third George Elliot book. I tend to like big, wordy Victorian novels, and I was really enthusiastic to start this, even though I couldn't stand Silas Marner (freshman year high school) and wasn't wild about Middlemarch. I know that Middlemarch is a classic, beloved, etc. And I mean to give it another try some day. I feel like that book has so much going on that it deserves a second look. (I should probably try Silas Marner again. It's been thirty years, or close.)

As for The Mill on the Floss (the Floss is a river, btw), I felt that the first third of the book could've been shortened to a quarter of its length. I almost gave up on the book. There's nothing wrong with it, but.... it's like a charming family story about two child siblings with a fairly dim mother and stuck-up aunts. The real story doesn't get started until Maggie, the main character, turns thirteen.

There was alot to like in the book, especially Maggie. I didn't know much about the book and it doesn't have the same kind of fandom as anything by Jane Austen or the Brontes or Gaskell's North and South. But I have seen many references to Maggie over the years, just mentions of how much so-and-so loves Maggie, and now that I've read it, i get it.

Having said that...

I don't know if any two characters I've come across in the hundreds of books that I've read in my life have made me half as tired as Tom Tulliver and Stephen Guest. Ugh! If they'd just left Maggie alone, she would have married Phillip and they'd have been fine. I guess I can't fairly blame them for the flood, but maybe everything else?

My challenge for the year

It's still going at a crawl. I have so many other books that I want to read. I've read many more new books this year that I usually do. I meant to work on many of the lists I've either made or come across, but I got stymied at the get-go by not knowing that my first Rory GIlmore challenge book was a three-volume biography. (I have volume 2). And I never got back to it until I couldn't find a good edition of TMotF, which I finally did this autumn. I also spent most of September having a headache, which slowed down my reading and my writing.

So now I'm in my spooky season reading, and reading new books that I want to get back to the library soon, and I have a stack from my own shelves that I want to read but aren't on any list, so I think that this challenge is a bust unless I count my TBR list as a part of the challenge. I could, but I think I'll just drop it!

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