I finished reading Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides this morning.  I got the impression that I was supposed to think it’s one of the greatest books ever written, or at least be moved by it.  I wasn’t.  That’s not to say I didn’t think it was good, or that I didn’t enjoy it.  I did.  But it’s not something I would reread (which should say something to people who know me (who I’m sure are the only people reading this blog (assuming anyone other than Mom is reading), but that’s a topic for another post.  I need to get out of parentheses now.)) or even recommend wholeheartedly to someone.  It was very meh.  Shrug.  Whatever.  It was like there was something missing.  The narrator kept me at a distance, so I never really felt like I was feeling what the characters were feeling.  And if the point was that Cal/Callie was neither male nor female, but something in the middle, then why was the adult Cal so strongly male?  It seemed that he made a choice to be male, not female, and not something new or a combination of both.  And maybe it wasn’t a choice, really, but that characterization seemed to miss the point that I thought the book was reaching toward.  But maybe it was just me who missed the point.  Either way, I think that’s why I feel so indifferent to the book.   No biggie.  I’m sure I’ll enjoy my next book more, whatever it is.


  1. momma betty

    I really did enjoy the book. It’s been a few years since I read it though. I took away from it the question as to how much gender is biological or sociological. In this case, biology seems to triumph since the main character was apparently born with male parts (only very, very small) so he/she was brought up as a girl, only to have the biologically male part of him emerge anyway as he/she got to puberty. But I liked the book for its evocation of the time period (Detroit in the 50s/60s), the immigration experience and how that relates to identity–which is, after all (maybe), the heart of the story. Maybe I’ll read it again.

  2. Zannah

    And I could see that the immigration experience was supposed to tie in to the identity question (so that Cal was supposed to be struggling with both immigrant assimilation and gender assimilation), but it didn’t seem to matter that Cal of Greek descent. The point was made, but for Cal’s parents and grandparents and other family members, not for Cal. For Cal, the fact that HE was a Greek-American was almost irrelevent and didn’t seem to have much to do with his identity conflicts.

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