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Showing 1-10 of 58 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 137 reviews
on September 5, 2017
To be honest, I have tried reading George Eliot’s Middlemarch a couple of months ago. I failed as you expect. I found it not that easy to go thorough detailed illustration about characters and backgrounds in the former part. That’s because I have mixed feeling about Middlemarch. I am a novice in here. In conclusion, I can say anyone who never read George Eliot can enjoy Rebecca Mead’s accounts. She is pretty friendly guide toward the world of George Eliot.

I got immersed in multiple layers of lives in this book. George Eliot’s life, the protagonists’s one in Middlemarch, the author Rebecca Mead’s one and mine. Last but not least, my perspective horizon has enlarged thanks to this experience.

Reading about reading is always very great. Likewise listening to other’s life.
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on May 6, 2014
Mead has done a wonderful job of exploring Middlemarch in an absorbing, charming and insightful narrative. For those who love Middlemarch but may not care to embark on an extensive academic investigation, this is an accessible avenue to some insights into the book and George Eliot herself. Mead has read widely, and has a comfortable, readable narrative style and a deep love for the book. She has a rich appreciation for the themes of Middlemarch and the way that an understanding of a complex book can evolve as the reader grows and learns. The more personal reflections about her own life were less appealing to me, but easily skimmed. (In all fairness, the title is MY life in Middlemarch, so of course the author is going to share about her life!)

For those who loved, or even liked, Middlemarch, this is a rewarding and satisfying way to reflect on the book and go back to it with new insights and questions. I enjoyed it so much, and of course it makes me want to go back and re-read Middlemarch, which was doubltless Mead's intent. I have to think that George Eliot would have appreciated this gift.
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on February 2, 2016
I absolutely loved "My Life in Middlemarch," and think it is a brilliant achievement. Mead interweaves scenes from the novel with biographical and critical material on Eliot, and explains how Eliot's commentaries helped Mead understand stages of her own life. (Of course, a reader has to have read Middlemarch.) Mead leaves no stone unturned as she explores all the George Eliot sites she can find in England, and, in addition, visits descendants of George Henry Lewes, with whom Eliot shared an idyllic union for twenty-four years. The book added a whole new dimension to my understanding of George Eliot. I did not know that she helped raise the four Lewes children as if they were her own, and drew upon their lives for material in her novels, or that her own "marriage" was egalitarian and fulfilling, a sharp contrast to the marriage of Dorothea and Casaubon!!!
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on May 11, 2014
After hearing Rebecca Mead speak on The New York Times Book Review podcast about her book and about George Eliot I wanted to read Mead's book so badly that I decided to read the 800+ Middlemarch first so I could better appreciate Mead's book. I hadn't cracked open a Victorian novel in a few decades, but it was all worth it. Eliot's Middlemarch is an amazingly astute psychological study (written when Freud was only about 15 years old) of a few key characters in a small town in the English countryside. Eliot writes in such a heartfelt way that the reader gets to experience the inner emotional workings of the characters (whose psychology is abundantly represented in contemporary people as well). Rebecca Mead's book is also heartfelt in the author's touching revelations of her own life and the uncanny parallels between her life and Eliot's. Mead also offers up a special treat at the end of the book that will thrill any nature lover. If you read Middlemarch first and then Mead you have a wonderful experience in store for you.
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on May 26, 2016
Having read and written an MA Thesis on Middlemarch, I liked this view. But it really isn't going to advance scholarship or anyone's enjoyment of the book. It is mostly research and opinion set to read like an autobiographical essay.
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on March 2, 2014
I had high hopes for My Life in Middlemarch and was not disappointed! Rebecca Mead writes with a lyrical and intelligent voice and brings a book closer to the reader who might have otherwise left it at the sidelines in favor of any Austen novel. I know, I shied away from it for a long time. To follow her own experiences, her own growth and development coupled with the developments in the story, her wonderful analysis of characters and plot lines is a delight to read! I had bought it as a ebook, but as a true bibliophile I will buy it as a hardcover too. Rebecca Mead is a writer I would love to sit down with over a cup of tea and chat about life, books and the many struggles we go through until we find some answers to the questions of the meaning of love and life.
As always, the books which touch us the most uncover our own tender sensitivities, our own recognition of the pains and joys we ourselves have to deal with.
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on May 1, 2014
This is a hard book to categorize. I think that it would not appeal to casual readers, and that it's only relevant for Middlemarch fanatics, which I became for a month or so.

Mead has the difficult task of trying to make us care about George Eliot, George Lewes her putative husband, Herbert Spencer and all ( even a "groupie" from back then)--even herself, Rebecca Mead. Lots of interesting info about Eliot's and Lewes' life together and how "beloved" she felt by him. Eliot was definitely the force in that "marriage". Lots of info about Spencer's rejection of Eliot and how unloved she felt from this blow to her ego before Lewes came along.

The info that Mead shared about her own life was cursory. The stated connections between Mead and Eliot didn't ring true. Of course, they were true--- just not emotional enough to seem important to me .

A big plus is that the tone of Mead's writing evoked Eliot's tone. If not for this and trying to see how Mead constructed her sentences to sound like Eliot's, I probably would have given this two stars. ( Too harsh. Mead deserves one more star for her research, which was significant.)
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on December 31, 2014
What a pleasure this book is! It so easily wears its deep research and understanding of Eliot’s masterpiece, of Eliot herself, and of the world she inhabited that reading it felt like reading a novel rather than an interesting hybrid of literary criticism and autobiography. And yet the insights into the novel and its author are profound—insights that are as relevant today as they were in the nineteenth century, as Mead shows by using the book to illuminate her own life as well as Eliot's life and Middlemarch itself. The book is personal and contains a lot of the higher gossip, and yet evinces such a deep understanding of Eliot and her work that one feels by the end that one is seeing these so much more deeply than before. All this is done with such élan and flair that the book is a pleasure to read. Isn’t it nice to be both entertained and enlightened at the same time?
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on May 22, 2014
Her book was so well written that I bought the original book written by George Eliot, Middlemarch. I wanted to know how a novel could be a plumbline for her life at different stages of her life. I get it now. When you are young and immature you think your theories of life are valid. As you mature you learn how naive you were and the pain or consequence of the immaturity.

The journey helped me to be introspective regarding my life. I enjoyed this book; it was not a typical book for me. I am glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone. I am a better reader and person because I did.
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on March 20, 2014
MIDDLEMARCH showed that an English village need not be dull, long before PBS tried the same argument. Rebecca
Mead shows that not only might an English Village not be dull, but written beautifully it can be a guide to a wider world
many years down the line.
I was a big fan of MIDDLEMARCH when I first read it so many years ago. I must say it is personal, but Rebecca Mead's observations on how this book paralleled her life were spot on. When she made her way through the book I was reminded
of how we often let cliches affect our own choices. George Eliot made it quite clear that all that glitters is not gold, but fool's gold.
I recomment this book to the serious fan of great literature. How it can move us and enlighten us.
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