Listening to Leonard, Madeleine felt impoverished by her happy childhood. She’d never wondered why she acted the way she did, or what effect her parents had had on her personality. Being fortunate had dulled her powers of observation. Whereas Leonard noticed every little thing. For instance, they spent a weekend on Cape Cod (partly to visit Pilgrim Lake Laboratory, where Leonard was applying for a research fellowship), and as they were driving back, Leonard said, “What do you do? Just hold it?”


”You just hold it. For two days. Until you get back home.”

As his meaning seeped in, she said, “I can’t believe you!”

”You have never, ever, taken a dump in my presence.”

Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot