Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Review - Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Title: Middlesex 
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Year: 2003
Page: 529
Genre: Fiction - Literary 

FTC Disclosure: Borrowed from the library

Summary (from 
"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license...records my first name simply as Cal."

So begins 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.

First Sentence:
I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.

My Thoughts:

  • This was our book club choice for July. I've read some good reviews before, but never picked it up because I didn't think it was my type of books. I was right. I stopped at p34. Some may say 34 pages are not enough to judge a book. They might be right, but I just couldn't get into it. I kept having to flip back to the previous page to re-read what I just read. I just could not stand the thought of struggling 560+ pages
  • Chapter 1 was actually kinda interesting, especially the part about the silver spoon to see if the baby is a boy or girl. Chapter 2 focused on the grandmother when she was a young girl in Greece, and I just lost interest in this chapter.  
  •  Most of the book club people really liked it, except my friends and myself lol. But the book club people tend to be less harsh than I am :)

Overall Rating:

0 Star. Did not finish.

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  1. That's exactly my worry too, whether I will get into it. My roommate told me she struggled through it. She finished it ultimately, but she wasn't all that impressed by it. I might give it a try sometime, just to know if I can make it.

  2. Good to see there was another book you didn't finish so it wasn't just the one I recommended! :--)

  3. I was like, ohhhhhhh lets see what Christa thinks, I don't even read reviews on this one and you made it to page 34, lmao.

    The intro and first sentence was intriguing.

  4. I am sorry this one wasn't for you. I think you were right to stop though because it is a long book to struggle through if you're not enjoying it!

  5. @Aths - I think if you are into literary fiction you'd like it better, and this is not my genre at all. I was hoping it'd read more like a memoir since the premise sounds interesting (I know it's not supposed to be a memoir... but I was hoping more for a personal account...)

    @rhapsodyinbooks - haha, I abandon many books :) I don't usually remember who recommends the book until I do my review. I still like reading others' reviews maybe there may be something I'd missed. And we all bring in a different perspective.

    @Marce - the premise definitely was interesting and I was looking forward to it. I just wish it read more like a memoir rather than rambling about the family history way back before the sperm even met the egg (paraphrasing here :)

    @reviewsbylola - I think I'd learned to listen more to my gut when it's not a book a like. Too often I'd finish a book and wish I didn't waste my time. Not saying the book is bad, it's just not for me.