Adding to my enjoyment of it was that it begins in Providence, RI, one of my all-time favorite places. Eugenides' depiction of the mixture of college-town bohemia and uber-WASPiness (I have such a soft spot for WASPiness, croquet and summer homes and martinis at five and not talking about feelings ...) that characterizes Providence's east side was spot on. Just writing that makes me wish I was there right now, taking in the perfect Revolutionary War-era colonials, cobblestone streets and sidewalk cafes.
Bottom line is: definitely read The Marriage Plot if, like me, you real novels instead of watching television. And no matter what you read, visit Providence if you ever have the chance.