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Middlesex – Jeffry Eugenides

May 22, 2008

This book sat on my to be read pile for a good two years before I finally decided to pick it up and give it a go. In all honesty, the content (hermaphroditism) really just creeped me out a bit and I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it at all. But on a whim I picked it up last weekend and gave it a whirl.

I have to say this was a really, really great book. One of the best written books I have ever read. I can see why it won the Pulitzer. Yes – I can check another book off of that Pulizer list!

This book really contains two stories in one book. There is the backstory of Callie/Cal’s grandparents and parents, narrated by Callie/Cal. Then there is Callie/Cal’s story. Both stories are intricately woven into a wonderfully tangled mess of who’s related to whom and what actually caused the genetic mutation that transformed Callie into Cal.

My favorite part of the novel was the backstory of Callie/Cal’s grandparents and parents. It was so wonderful and mesmerizing. So intricately told that I could visualize every detail. We aren’t really fully introduced to Callie/Cal until half way through the book. By the time we are introduced to Callie, the topic of hermaphroditism is so understated that it almost gets lost in the intricacy of the whole of the storyline.

In Middlesex, Eugenides tells the tale of the immigration of assimilation, of suburban America, of social awkwardness and survival. The more I read, the more I was convinced that the book was a memoir, and not a novel. It was that believable. Wonderful. Simply wonderful.

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