I took a break from Middlemarch to read The Privileges last week. It is surprisingly easy to put Middlemarch on hold -- not because I don't like it; I do -- but because it's long and while searching for the link in this post I came across spoilers. Can you still call them spoilers if they're about a several-hundred page book written centuries ago?
Anyway: The Privileges. I liked the beginning of this book best, a set piece about the marriage day of a golden couple. There are a lot of great parts to that section: a moment between mother and daughter where the "specialness" of the day is clearly different for the two characters does a nice job setting up the characters.
The rest of the book I liked less -- the characters (lack of) morality and values seemed dull, rather than shocking. That is perhaps intentional, and a reflection of the times, and crimes, we live in.
One part of the book reminded me of a scene in Mystic River (from the novel, but also in the movie). Cynthia hears about a wrongdoing of Adam's and, rather than displaying judgment, tells him she is proud to be married to him, and that, if I'm remembering right, that he is a "man amongst men." Replace names, the crime, and socioeconomic status, and the scene is precisely the same as a "stand by your man" scene in Mystic River.
Is it a flaw in these two women or in me that I can't imagine myself having that response? Is it a little too ridiculous for me to read this type of scene as being a male fantasy?