Most of my friends read Silas Marner in high school English and still shudder, but my high school marched to a different drummer (or none) and I had never read it. No one would pretend that it is one of George Eilot's masterpieces -- it's no Middlemarch, not by a long shot. But even in its much smaller way, it has all the germs of her intelligence, literary style, and human compassion, even when tainted by a certain predictability and triteness of plot. It also has Eliot's greatest weakness, which is that she seems to lose interest in the central situation she creates once it has been fully developed, and as in many of her (greater) books, rushes to the end once it is in sight.
Still, no person who wishes to be thought literate in English literature should not have read Silas Marner. For whatever shortcomings it may have, it's a page turner by a literary master.