Saturday, September 29, 2007

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

By Jeffrey Eugenides
Completed September 29, 2007

I know I am in the minority here, but Middlesex was a huge disappointment for me. We all know the plot - that it's a story about a Greek girl who later discovers that she's actually a boy. The premise is excellent, but the book falls short in so many ways.

Eugenides is a wonderful writer, and he does an excellent job telling a story - too bad it's not the story of Callie but of her grandparents and parents too. You reach the middle of this 500+ page book before Callie is even conceived. However, Callie narrates the whole thing. How would she know such details about her grandparents and parents? She can't - and I think it's a major flaw in the book (not to mention that you have to wait until the middle of the book for Callie to be introduced as a character. Oh sorry, did I say that already? Well, it's worth repeating because it's a major flaw too).

Because half of the book is dedicated to Callie's lineage, I feel his/her character lacks development, which is a huge shame. For me, Callie had the potential to be one of the most interesting characters in modern American literature. Instead, the character falls flat - just like the entire novel.

Middlesex is a Pulitzer prize winner and a recent selection for the Oprah Book Club. Obviously, many people enjoyed this novel. I am sorry that I am not one of them. However, I am more sorry that I wasted a week of my life finishing a book that I now call Middlesucks. ( )

(Cross-posted from my blog)


Andrea said...

I think most readers expected this story to be exclusively about a hermaphrodite, and that really isn't the focus. It struck me as a humorous look at an multi-generational immigrant family with ironic, funny subplots. Callie, despite her physical "differences" experiences things that we all can relate to. If you're really looking to learn about hermaphrodites, this isn't the primer you might be expecting.

Tessa said...

Hi there,

I actually just posted a blog today about the very thing. I was really looking forward to reading the book but I found it fell short as well. It's almost as though it was three different stories with Calli's coming at the very end. I found the same with the Virgin Suicides... a great idea but he lost focus and didn't really deal with the subject at hand which could have been so rich.