Book Review: Middlesex

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

I have actually had this on my TBR list since my friend Erica mentioned it eons ago...but then Oprah picked it as a book, and all hell broke loose on the library hold list!

I finally got my hands on this 500+ page (what is with me and long books lately??) novel, and dove in, with high expectations from the Pulitzer Prize winner.

And read. And read. And read.

And then started skimming, and then skimming more.

Eugenides has a definite style and affectations that are all his own, and I have no doubt he has a lot of interesting stories to tell, but I just got SO bogged down in this one. Three threads all being woven together, jumps from past to present and back again, no linear thought, overly detailed writing, and a story that, frankly, didn't keep me interested terribly long.

I kinda/sorta finished it after slogging through more than half, but this just wasn't the gem I was hoping it would be. (Sorry, Erica!)

Oprah can keep this one, I'm afraid...


Anonymous said...

Ms. Loud Small Town Girl:
In the future, I suggest you skip "long" books like this (it didn't even occur to me that this was particularly long) and go for Dr. Seuss instead. It's much more direct, the plotline is relatively easy to follow, it's singular in direction, and you should be able to finish the book in a few days.
Seriously, I cannot even imagine what about this incredibly engaging, largely historically accurate, fascinatingly strange story could not hold one's attention. I simply could not wait until bedtime to read the next installment, and stayed up way, way too late because I could not put it down. I am sad to be nearly finished and cannot recommend it highly enough. Where else may we read tales of such gender-bender hermaphroditism written in such a manner as help us to fully comprehend the complex emotions such a person as Cal/Calliope must withstand? Fascinating, genius level writing at it's best.

Marissa said...

You know, I always enjoy talking about books with other people, whether we have the same opinion of them or not - obviously, this is a pretty important trait for a librarian to have. However, I tend to try and refrain from insulting someone just because their taste differs from my own. I usually just smile and agree to disagree. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on even discussing books, or encouraging folks to have their own opinions about their likes and dislikes. Must not be the Anonymous way.

I found the topics written about in Middlesex intriguing, it just didn't hit a right note with me right now. We'll have to agree to disagree, I'm afraid.

Gosh, I'll try and fit Dr. Seuss into my schedule, along with the other 160+ books I read every year, in addition to all the professional reading I do that I don't review here.

But won't all those big words and complicated plots confuse me? Gee...

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading Middlesex. It would not have been a personal pick, I read it for our book club, but I'm glad I did. It's not a book I will re-read, but it did stay on my mind throughout the days I read it. I remember a lag-time somewhere in the middle, at the end of one couple's romance on into the next. If I hadn't been reading it for my book club I most probably would have stopped at that point. But I forged on and was rewarded with witty prose. I found myself chuckling more than once. All in all, I rate it a "B".
I will make it a point to read this writer's other book, "The Virgin Suicides".

Marissa said...

I actually really enjoyed "The Virgin Suicides" - let me know what you think!

Anonymous said...

I very much enjoyed this book. Does anyone have any idea why Cal's brother was named Chapter
11? Both my sister and I read the book and could not figure out why.

Anonymous said...

Funny..I just figured it out. LOL.