My Life In Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

Publisher: Crown/Random House Publishing January 28, 2014
Genre: Non-fiction, memoir, George Eliot, Middlemarch
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 304
Rating: 4 Stars for Very Good
Source: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for a review, and from Crown/Random House Publishing, for the purpose of review. All reviews expressed are from my own opinion. 

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My Life in Middlemarch, is a memoir of Rebecca Mead, George Eliot, and a review of the literary novel Middlemarch. 
Rebecca Mead, reflects on her life, from late adolescence and college, to living single and working on her career in NYC. She ponders choices made, relationships, and maturity; further, she compares her life to her beloved book and heroine, George Eliot, the author of Middlemarch. 
Middlemarch, was published in serial form by George Eliot, also known as Mary Ann Evans or Marian Evans, in 1871-72. George Eliot, also wrote Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, and Daniel Deronda. George Eliot, lived an unconventional life by Victorian standards, because she lived with a married man for several years, and later married a much younger man. 

I've read Silas Marner, and The Mill on the Floss, both books are some of my favorites. On my book shelf is Middlemarch (unread). I have a biography on George Eliot by Rosemary Ashton (unread).

My Thoughts:
It's wonderful to slow down from my hectic academic type books, by reading a book that's slow-paced and introspective. 
Mead is a writer that both thinks deeply and moves the reader to think deeply. My Life in Middlemarch, is an introverts delight.  
I thought of my own life and how books have affected it; further, how they've changed my thinking, or molded my outlook on something that before seemed demure or foreign. Books have certainly transported my mind and spirit to another place and time. Books have also disgusted me, or kindled an anger for the wretched people who harm the innocent. Books are like magic keys, that unlock doors that were formally closed. 
My Life in Middlemarch, is an observant, insightful study, of how the novel Middlemarch, changed Rebecca Mead's life. She has read the book several times, at different ages and maturity places in her life. I feel she expressed her points and feelings well, which at times propelled me to ponder books and stories which have affected me the same way. Some examples of these points, were on late adolescence and just on the brink of leaving the nest, hoping and pining "for life to start." A second example is how I see the world, my perspective, and how it is not how other people see it. 
"This notion-that we each have our own center of gravity, but must come to discover that others weigh the world differently than we do-is one that is constantly repeated in the book. The necessity of growing out of such self-centeredness is the theme of Middlemarch. In one of the most memorable editorial asides in the novel, Eliot elaborates upon this idea of how necessary it is to expand one's sympathies. 'We are all of us born in moral stupidity, taking the world as an udder to feed our supreme selves.'" Page 159.
My Life in Middlemarch, is a book for readers who are interested in a carefully paced memoir. For me, reading the book felt like a mini-vacation, a much needed one. 

Author Information:
Rebecca Mead is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding.  She lives in Brooklyn.


  1. I too have a copy of George Eliot's collected works on my shelf, but read only The Mill on the Floss so far. Ms Mead's book sounds like a very intersting read. Perhaps it would push me to "get lost" in the remaining Eliot's novels. Thank you for the recommendation.


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