Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today




Caucasian couple looking at a laptop computer together


Virgo - AARP Horoscope

Look at what your future holds if your birthday is between August 23 & September 22

Contests & Sweeps

Enter the $50K Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes. Ends 8/31/15. No purchase necessary. Enter for Official Rules.


The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

Most Popular


Avoid Sunburn, Bask in a Good Book on Long Relaxing Weekends

Baldacci, Eugenides and a stunning debut

Book cover for The Marriage Plot, a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Marriage Plot
Jeffrey Eugenides
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 2011, 416 pages
$27.99; ebook $12.99

Anyone with bittersweet longings for their young adult days will be captivated by this witty coming-of-age novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Middlesex. (Already the book's been snapped up for big-screen treatment: Think St. Elmo's Fire peopled by smart young academics on the verge of adulthood — and nervous breakdowns.)

The Marriage Plot opens on Memorial Day weekend in 1982, as cynical-yet-romantic English major Madeleine is about to graduate from Brown University (the author's alma mater). Also in line for a diploma with Madeleine is one of the two young men who've fallen in love with her: Mitchell, a sensitive religious-studies major who has spent his college career fruitlessly yearning for Madeleine.

Meanwhile, her boyfriend, Leonard, has been hospitalized for manic-depression. His illness is a demon that Madeleine will come to know well after graduation: She moves in with Leonard on Cape Cod, where he has scored a research gig to study yeast. Mitchell, for his part, is sublimating his desire in a round-the-world quest for spiritual truth — or, failing that, a clue about what to do next in life.

The Marriage Plot — likewise the title of a seminar Madeleine takes on Austen-era novels that end in a wedding — ranges smoothly over the previous four years and forward to the summer of 1983. During this span all three characters grapple with the wrenching transition from beery, self-indulgent collegiate cocoon to sobering adult duties. Some readers may decide this topic's been milked to a fare-thee-well elsewhere, but Eugenides presents the graduates' passage with enough compassion and humor to make the tale feel fresh and true for any generation.

Christina Ianzito is a writer for AARP The Magazine and

You may also like: Nora Roberts writes to her heart's content.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

AARP Bookstore

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Cirque Du Soleil

Members save 15-30% on tickets to live Cirque du Soleil shows.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $8 for Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. Conditions apply.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.