Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (review by Meilan S. ’17)

MiddlesexMiddlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Middlesex, by Jeffery Eugenides, is a book that crosses boundaries. Not only is the subject matter, the story of a pseudohermaphrodite, Callie/Cal struggling with self-identity, fresh, but the book also encompasses several genres. It begins as a historical novel as we explore the lives of Callie/Cal’s parents and grandparents. It shows the scientific side of his condition, as well as how it affects him emotionally, from confusing crushes to the hybrid emotions he feels when trying to be a girl. Furthermore, it is told in an uncommon narrative voice: first person omniscient, which adds to the fresh feel of the novel. The book is an enthralling masterpiece, and despite the extraordinary events that unfold, Eugenides is able to keep it grounded with Callie/Cal’s narration, which is extremely relatable and realistic. Without a doubt, Middlesex is a fantastic book, and I whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone looking for an exciting and satisfying literary journey. – Meilan S. ’17

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One thought on “Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (review by Meilan S. ’17)”

  1. Middlesex was a breath of fresh air, detailing the life of Cal Stephanides (born Calliope Stephanides), an intersex individual growing up in the 60's and 70's in a Greek immigrant family. While Cal's story is certainly the main focus of the book, there is definitely painstaking detail given to all members of Cal's family, including their traits, quirks, backstories, and how they ended up as they were. The reader looks at the family as a whole through Cal's wry, witty voice as a narrator looking back on his own past. He also reflects on ideas about gender roles, having been raised as a girl himself. Eugenides' writing style is excellent, and Eugenides is by far now one of my favorite authors because of this. This book is a product of its time, however, and a lot of the terminology used is now outdated/considered offensive. I would nevertheless recommend this book as a work of epic proportions to fans of any genre who don't mind setting aside enough time to work through this lengthy read.


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