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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review - Jeffrey Eugenides MIDDLESEX

This was a strange book for me. It was not an easy read and it took me quite a while to finish. I generally do not read half a book and then switch to another!  Apart from the gender blender description which was rather apt and put it in a nutshell I thought, it is also a multi generation book and that is something I enjoy.

I like stories which start from one generation and end in the third - you watch the strands of history, you also see similarities and differences, the quirks which may miss one generation and then suddenly appear. It is also very intriguing as in this book to read about the cultural changes from one family's original Greek origins and then to end up as a very American family. All within the structure of just three generations.

Cal a hermaphrodite is born and accepted as a girl and grows as one but comes into her own, seeking her own fulfilment as a male. Callie is accepted by all as a girl - his parents, his friends at school, even his doctor who is albeit half blind but with puberty he does realize that something is not quite right and there is something that sets her apart from her friends.

The story is thus about Cal but it first starts with her grandparents incestuous relationship (a brother and sister who married each other) and then comes into its own in the city of Detroit. It like so many interesting stories highlights the stories of immigrants and how they adapt to their new environment like so many hundreds of thousands of people before and after. Each of these stories is always a new story because it is so individual and this one is no different.

This is a story very well told, an adult book but one which may not appeal to everyone.  It grew very slowly on me.


Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I agree that this is a slow burner but by the time I finished this book, I loved it. I thought the story of Cal's grandparents was the best one in the novel.

Anonymous said...

This one is definitely different. I enjoyed it but it did take a while. It grew on me. I agree, not for everyone but it's one that I recommend often.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I read it several years ago. While it's not one of my favorites of all time it IS one of the most unforgettable novels I've ever read - for all the reasons you mention.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

gender blender? You know... after seeing this book around for years I had no idea what it was about. It sounds interesting.

MarthaE said...

This does sound unusual. Not sure I would pick it up. Thanks for your good review. Have good week.

Teddyree said...

An unusual story, one I've seen mixed reviews on. Not sure whether it's for me but I'm glad you seemed to enjoy it.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Funny, I devoured this one when I read it years ago. Glad you tried it though.