Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Book Review: Middlesex


Author: Jeffrey Eugenide

Pages: 529

Genre: Fiction

Personal Rating: 2.5/5

Awards: Pulitzer Prize

From the back cover:

Middlesex tells the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of l967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal, one of the most audacious and wondrous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

I’m sorry to say I was disappointed and unimpressed with this book. It just didn’t do it for me. Calliope has Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. So even though she is an XY male, she looks and therefore was raised as a female. It wasn’t until she was 14 that it was discovered she was not a girl. As a biology teacher and psychology major I was very excited to read this book to watch how the bio and psych interacted with each other. Perhaps I expected too much.

The majority of the book is devoted to Calliope’s ancestors and parents. While they play a pivotal role in her situation I didn’t feel it was necessary to devote so much time to them. I found it boring. I wanted to learn about Calliope. It seemed that just when you were finally starting to get to know Calliope the book was over.

There were fantastic parts of the book. The first two paragraphs for example; they hooked me in and I was ready to go. I wish I still had the book here so I could type them out. The writing is very good, but to describe the book as thrilling??? Umm…I’m not sure where that would be.

Many people loved this book and of course it won a Pulitzer so I’m in the minority here. From other reviews I’ve read people have seemed to either loved it or hated it. I didn’t hate it, it just wasn’t as good as it could have been. I thought Virgin Suicides was better.

6 comments:

Jeane said...

Never knew the premise of this book before. Glad to know now. I notice you're reading The Glass Castle, I'm curiously waiting to hear what you think of it!

Juli said...

I loved it. Her life was unbelievable. I can't wait to write a review about it.

Armen said...

good review, check this site too for some cool book reviews on video ie ( Video Book Reviews ) given by real people like you and me :)

Lezlie said...

I, too, thought this book just just OK. There were some really interesting parts, but I thought a lot of it dragged. The most memorable moment for me was when he wrote about working in the automobile factory. The writing was so vivid I felt like I was right there on the assembly line!

Lezlie

BookGal said...

I read this one awhile ago. I like you do. It wasn't worth all they hype I've heard about it. I also really disliked the stuff in San Francisco. My review is here:

http://booksmemesmusings.blogspot.com/2007/09/middlesex-by-jeffrey-eugenides.html

Joy said...

It's so nice to not be alone. :) I rated this a 2.5/5!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...