Book review: Middlesex

MiddlesexMiddlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Please read this book. Immediately. Move Middlesex immediately to the top of your list and go buy it or check it out from the Library as soon as you can.

There. That being said: This book came highly recommended to me and I ignored that recommendation for years. Shame on me.

The voice of the narrator, Cal/Callie Stephanides, is so clear, so delightfully witty and intelligent and articulate. Somehow, Jeffrey Eugenides manages to write this main character with such love and humanity that when I was done reading Middlesex, I missed Cal’s voice and opinion and insight.

Cal tells this epic story of his family (and his genes) starting with the romance that brought his Grandparents together. It often reminded me of a Hellenic Forrest Gump due to the narrative flow interacting with the changing of time and major events highlighting the experiences of his Grandparents’ and Parents’ generations. Tied in with it all is the biology that immigrated from Turkey, through Ellis Island, to Detroit which would make Cal (genetically male, complete with X and Y chromosomes) appear to be a Callie until he was 14 years old.

I know it’s pretty cliche in any book review, to say that a book is “heartbreaking” and “funny” and so many other things that thousands of other books are. But this one really got to me. It was heartbreaking as well as funny, and I don’t feel ashamed to say it.

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