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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Book Review: Middlesex By: Jeffrey Eugenides


"Normality wasn't normal. It couldn't be. If normality was normal, everybody could leave it alone. They could sit back and let normality manifest itself. But people-and especially doctors-had doubts about normality. They weren't sure normality was up to the job. And so they felt inclined to give it a boost" (P. 448).

     Title: Middlesex
     Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
     PAPERBACK
     Amount of Pages: 529
     Publisher: Bloomsbury
     Geared Towards: Adults
     From: Bought

Summary (From B.O.B): "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."

So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three geneations of the Greek-American Stephanides family, who travel from a tiny vllage overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of 1967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Point, Michigan.

To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she hs to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns her into Cal, one of he most audacious and wonderous narrators in contemporary fiction. Lyrical and thrillig,MIDDLESEX is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

Wdebo's Review: MIDDLESEX is a novel that has been on my TBR list for the longest time, so when I saw it at the bookstore, I knew I had to buy it. I began it as soon as I got home that night and was unable to put it down until I finished it.

Finishing MIDDLESEX made me think of that quote by Paul Sweeney: "     “You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” As soon as my eyes skimmed over the last word ("next"), as soon as I flipped the last page over, as soon as I closed the book, I was hit with a certain sadness akin to saying good-bye to a long-time friend. Right when the story ended, I wanted nothing more than to flip to page one and begin "I was born twice: first, as a baby girl..." all over again. I wanted to rediscover Cal's life, Lefty and Desdemona's tender, shy love story and Tessie and Milton's clarinet music-filled time together.

MIDDLESEX is enjoyably crafted with diverse details. All of three stories have been weaved together like magic with Cal's boisterous, memorable first-person narrative as the delightful glue. Throughout the span of the 529 page novel, I found myself daydreaming, bored a total of zero times. MIDDLESEX is extremely readable and immensly addicting. The story is so greatly crafted. Eugenides has the uncanny ability to transition between humerous banter to heart-string tugging prose with expert fluidity. His writing has made MIDDLESEX into one of my favorite books ever, right there besides EUGENE ONEGIN and THE PRINCESS DIARIES series.

Not only is the story itself interesting and carefully created, the character of Cal is also one of my favorite characters ever. Cal acted in a gentle, kind way of an old friend. He would lead you by the hand, pointing out important factors of each stories, showing you all of the details without seeming too pushy or overwhelming. He knew when to stop and when to begin again. With a gentle tug, Cal would bring you into a new life, a new side of the story you couldn't wait to learn about. Every character had a little something different, somethng extra to bring to the table that diversified and set MIDDLESEX apart from other books in its genre.

Cafe Cover Chat: Personally, I do not much care for this cover. If I was only juging the book by this critera, I would probably have not picked it up. (B-)

All in all, a wonderful novel that is sure to become a modern classic and be enjoyed by many. I am very happy that I picked this novel up and hope that many of you will be able to too!

Grade: A

Wdebo :)

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