Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Review #511 - Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides


In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry-blonde classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them - along with Callie's failure to develop physically - leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, she is not really a girl at all.

The explanation for this shocking state of affairs is a rare genetic mutation - and a guilty secret - that have followed Callie's grandparents from the crumbling Ottoman Empire to Prohibition-era Detroit and beyond, outlasting the glory days of the Motor City, the race riots of 1967, and the family's second migration, into the foreign country known as suburbia. Thanks to the gene, Callie is part girl, part boy. And even though the gene's epic travels have ended, her own odyssey has only begun.

My Rating: 4.5/5

I read this book as part of my 1001 Books Challenge where I try and read at least 1 book from the list a month. (Note that I have now decided to read books from an updated 1001 books list that unfortunately does not include this book.)

When I decided to read books from that list I had hoped to read really well written books that I would love but were books that I wouldn't ever decide to read on my own. Middlesex is that type of book. 

All I knew about this book before reading it was that it was about a hermaphrodite. It is mainly about his grandparents and parents lives leading up to his birth whilst being very imaginative on an epic scale. 

The only thing I didn't like about this book was at times it was over descriptive. There was some parts of the book I had to skim over (like 2 pages full of how the conveyor belt at the car manufacturer works) because it was way too descriptive. 

My favourite aspects of this book was the family element. This book focuses on so many family relationships that I am amazed I didn't get any of them confused with one another.

Calliope/Cal was such a fascinating narrator. He was surprisingly very honest and genuine and had a very distinct voice. 

I loved the historical elements in the book. The book always seemed to take place somewhere at a time that was either historically or culturally significant which gave me something of a history lesson as I enjoyed reading the book. 

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