Book #48: Middlesex

Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex is one of the best books I’ve read in awhile.

It’s about a hermaphrodite, Cal. Cal spent the first 14 years of his life as Calliope, the granddaughter of Greek immigrants who have settled in Detroit. Then, when Cal was a teenager, he and his family discovered that he was actually a male, but born with a disorder that caused him to develop as a female. The confusion that Cal and his family go through is only part of the book.

The majority of Middlesex focuses around Cal’s family history. It starts with his grandparents in Greece, follows their migration to Detroit. From there, we follow their lives and eventually Cal’s parents’ lives in Detroit. The narrative is filled with beautiful writing, interesting family dynamics, and lots of history, mythology, and literary references.

Also (without giving anything away), there are a lot of details in Middlesex that make me cringe. Weird things happen between characters that made me shudder and go, “Ewwwww ew ew ew!” It felt a little wrong. But in a book where the main character is a hermaphrodite who spent his formative years as a girl, I guess you can expect a few weird, convention-breaking relationships. It certainly made the book far, far more interesting.

Overall, I loved Middlesex. Eugenides is a fantastic writer. The plot kept me super interested and intrigued, and Cal is a great narrator who had me rooting for him the entire time. It’s one of my favorites that I’ve read since I started this project. I highly recommend it. It’s awesome.

Rating: *****
Up Next: The Pilgrim’s Progress


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