Middlesex: A Novel
by Jeffrey Eugenides
Paperback- $10.99

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an ...

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  "The life of a physical hermaphrodite forms only one aspect of this complex novel." by Frazzle (see profile) 07/17/07

This book won our "best of the year" award! It contained so many issues and aspects that discussion continued for hours! It is ultimately a book of survival and compassion.

 
  "Initially difficult getting to heart of the subject until about page 300" by lwillis (see profile) 08/30/07

I found myself reading in the young woman's voice throughout most of the book. It wasn't until after a decision was made (reborn) that the voice changed to male. I longed for more information from the clinical perspective. Historical details were intriguing; how sad that matters were never discussed openly. The father's death was completely unexpected. My heart went out to Callipe/Cal

 
  "The very personal story of a very culturally entrenched hermaphrodite and his/her family history." by alycat78 (see profile) 09/23/07

This was a book I would not have normally chosen on my own, but thanks to the book club I'm happy I've read it. There are so many underlying themes in the book, and many opportunities for discussion. For example, not only does the main character go through adolescence, like we all do, but she/he has to deal with discovering that there is something not quite normal going on. There are a lot of family themes as well, which we can all relate to. The author writes very well, with lots of description and vivid detail. Character development is very thorough in this book. In short, I highly recommend Middlesex!

 
  "Too long and not that interesting" by sachatz (see profile) 09/28/07

Did not like the way the author went back and forth in time. The story could have been told in a MUCH more condensed version.

 
  "Complexity of adolescence and family regardless of your gender" by mel29 (see profile) 11/12/07

I really enjoyed this book! It's so much more than a story about a hermaphrodite! The historical aspect of the novel itself is enough to want to read it, but also the author's master of both the male and female adolescent voice and the lyrical writing style made this one of my favorite books.

 
  "A very good book." by wonder7 (see profile) 11/14/07

I enjoyed this book, and especially found the insight into the (relatively) recent racial disparities, segregation and tensions around Chicago to be very interesting.

 
  "history of a hermaphrodite and generations of his family; touch of humor keeps the story light as well as serious" by mapfleger (see profile) 11/21/07

I liked the book, but some in our book club never read it after reading the jacket, hence, the recommendation reservation.

 
  "excellent exploration of gender identity but so much more!" by courtneysly (see profile) 01/30/08

 
  "Takes a while to get into it; somewhat disturbing at the outset" by ldsulli (see profile) 02/29/08

 
  "middlesex, a novel oprah book club" by emptynester (see profile) 03/11/08

 
  "Ten out of 12 members present rated this book a "thumbs up"" by literaryladieswv (see profile) 03/16/08

Calliope Stephenides' story takes us back generations, and through American history of the 20th century. The experience of Greek immigrants and the 2nd generation all-American success story brings us to the chance or the predetermined fate that brought together the two genes that produced Calliope, later Cal.
Our members found much to enjoy and to talk about in this coming of age story of an hermaphrodite. Many of us were not sure we wanted to read this book however, we related to the themes of family, personal identity and the struggles of adolescence.
Ultimately this story is not a Greek tragedy of the sins of the fathers and mothers being visited on the children, but is an American tale of hope and optimism.

 
  "An incredible journey of a family, where fate and genetics are intertwined, and how they affected the outcome of one person." by aurianeroma (see profile) 03/27/08

I loved this book! The writing style drew me in and the story kept me reading non-stop until the end. The conversations that it inspired were intelligent and interesting.I would recommend this book to anyone.

 
  "Intriguing from page 1" by Korrin (see profile) 03/28/08

Great book. It was intriguing from page 1 through to the end. Even though the author jumps you though many years of "Cal's" life, it is easy to keep track of all the characters from the different time periods. This book makes for great discussion as there are lots of issues brought up!

 
  "Enjoyed the writing style, the humor, grief, sadness, and reality to everyday living." by chattychick (see profile) 03/28/08

A great work of fiction about the passing on of genes through a family. How by no fault of anyone, sometimes the human body does not turn out as we expect. The book provided everything, adventure, war, love, marriage, even a car chase at the end!!! The time flew by as I was absorbed in the reading of Middlesex.

 
  "great story about a history of a family" by lisapalish (see profile) 03/31/08

Wonderfully written. Mult layers of family issues.

 
  "Subject matter is hard, but the discussion was good." by papp.mlodz (see profile) 04/04/08

Subject matter is hard, but the discussion was good.

 
  "Enjoyed by those who got through it." by DubaiReader (see profile) 04/10/08

This is a book for book groups whose members have plenty of reading time and who enjoy a bit of a challenge. I got as far as P170 and gave up - it had taken 2 weeks to get that far and I'm an avid reader. Those who got through it really enjoyed it though and encouraged me to have another go!
From the discussion of those who read it, I would say that the title is a bit of a misnomer; the hermaphrodite character is only part of the story, the remainder is more of a family saga.
Recommended with reservations as only half the group completed it.

 
  "Greek-American intermarriages causes sex identity problems" by hrdobnick (see profile) 05/03/08

 
  "This is the story of a hermaphradite and the genetic reasoning behind it." by kileyri9 (see profile) 05/29/08

This book received mixed reviews. It was considered slow going by most, but was an interesting story. There also wasn't much to look forward to since we knew what was going to happen, although not exactly how the events would unfold.

 
  "A little slow at first with a lot of historical information, however it picks up as it goes on." by KLeaper (see profile) 06/01/08

 
  "Not your average immigration story" by Persephone (see profile) 02/14/10

I enjoyed this book on so many levels - as an immigration tale, as insight into Detroit's turbulent history, and as a coming of age story with a definite twist. I found the medically-oriented sections a bit difficult to get through, but ultimately necessary to understand this very personal struggle.

 
  "What a dissapointment" by Gidget1972 (see profile) 02/14/10

I cannot believe this book is an award winner. It was long and tedious, I wanted to give up so many times, but kept waiting for it to get better. It was too wordy and cheesy. The only character that interested me was Cal/Callie and unfortunately the author only dedicated the last few chapters to him/her. It spanned over many decades, which I felt I lived through with the characters (not in a good way). It had some potentially interesting topics, but written with such a cheesy sense of humor, it lessened the interest. I had to force myself to read this book, and at the end, wondered why.

 
  "Middlesex" by glkbob (see profile) 02/27/10

It was boring. The story was slow and it was burdensome to read. Two out of eight of us liked it. Most of us thought it was pointless and boring.

 
  "Ugh!!!" by nawneybelle (see profile) 02/27/10

Did not like this at all. Although there were a few spots that were slightly interesting as seen from the narrator's perspective, I thought it was drawn out and over devoloped. I did not like the author's writing style at all and the material was very redundant at times. I could hardly get through the book,and to say it grated on my nerves would be putting in mildly. I can see where the controversial content could promote some interesting discussions, but overall... not a good read!!!

 
  "Interesting" by elahenaz (see profile) 07/25/10

 
  "Middlesex" by 1morechapter (see profile) 02/14/11

The writing itself deserves a 5. Some parts of the story are disturbing, though.

 
  "Interesting. Great read." by Jadell (see profile) 02/15/11

 
  "Middlesex" by KWest (see profile) 03/31/11

If I hadn't had the audiobook to intersperse with reading, I don't think I could have gotten through it in one month. The first 300 pages are like a Greek history lesson mingled with the family backstory. And since the author adds in allusions of what's to come, there really aren't any surprises. It was an ok read, but I didn't love it. If it hadn't been a book club pick it probably would have taken me months to get through it.

 
  "Middlesex" by vfkos (see profile) 04/27/11

We had mixed reviews of the book by the club members.
Half liked the book and the rest had mixed reactions to it.
Would still recommend it to others to read.

 
  "Wow! That was different!" by tompatrice (see profile) 07/07/11

Wow! That was different! Really eye opening on many levels. The recounting of growing up in the 60's 70's in suburbia was spot on. This man's story was unique and to be honest, I couldn't put it down. Not for everyone, but very interesting.

 
  "WOW!" by peachquilter (see profile) 11/05/11

Makes me thankful that my family is not this dysfunctional. Will brings lots of good discussion in book club. Along with some disgust. A little slow in areas and repetitive. I had to skip over some pages from boredom and/or disgust.
It is a good book if your club likes very out of the box discussions about morality and love.

 
  "Middlesex" by mclight (see profile) 04/03/12

Explaining that he was "born twice," first as a baby girl in 1960 and then as a teenage boy in 1974, Cal makes readers aware, in a lighthearted way, that he is a hermaphrodite. The story then starts in 1922, when his grandparents came to Detroit from war-torn Turkey. He relates his story as a female child growing up in suburban Detroit with typical adolescent worries ~ she hasn't developed breasts or started menstruating. Calliope’s facial hair is blamed on her ethnicity, and she and her mother get waxed together. Then an accident causes Callie to find out what she's been suspecting - she's not actually a girl. From this point on she becomes Cal, and it is Cal, the 41-year-old man, who narrates the story, dipping all the way back in history to the time of his grandparents' incestuous relationship in war-torn Turkey.

 
  "Middlesex" by vparnold (see profile) 10/01/12

 
  "Slow at first but worth it. " by lisjanemon (see profile) 03/11/13

One of our members couldn't get through the first part of the book and I kept telling her to get through it because it gets really good and interesting. I think it is a great book for a book club.

 
  "A long read" by lkresl (see profile) 08/14/13

I liked it but it was slow and I found myself not truly wanting to get back to reading but more like I felt I had to for the book club. Just didn't grab me the way I like a book to do.

 
  "Middlesex: A Novel" by DexterIsMyHero (see profile) 10/04/14

This is an adventure like you have never read before. It is odd and exhilarating and I could not. put. it. down. Mesmerizing. Extremely well written. Don't be afraid of the subject matter. Epic, sweeping narrative.

 
  "" by robba (see profile) 11/20/14

 
  "Middlesex: A Novel" by Leona (see profile) 09/21/15

A beautifully written novel. Very well developed characters, compelling story, and imaginative telling of the subject matter. I loved the often comic voice of the main character, Callie/Cal. This book inspires a lot of thought about the spectrum of human sexuality, and its depth provides much opportunity for conversation within a book club.

 
  "Surprising on many levels!" by Diane Wyant (see profile) 02/09/16

The book was beautifully written! For me, it was a story about immigration and ancestry as much as how we deal with knowing how a person deals with being different based on genetic anomalies. I read the book when first released and again recently in our book club. I got so much more out of it with rereading. Very well written!

 
  "" by Cherypit (see profile) 02/25/16

 
  "" by jkryshka (see profile) 02/26/16

 
  "Middlesex" by [email protected] (see profile) 07/13/16

This was one of the stupidest books I ever read. The whole background was ridiculous.

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 09/23/16

Wild journey down Mount Olympus, across the Atlantic, to the ups and down of 20th century Detroit. I truly enjoyed the ride!

 
  "Middlesex" by PeggySue64 (see profile) 01/25/17

Our book club found the book tried to cover too much information and yet left out a lot of Cal's story after his transition. Less than 50% would recommend to a friend. The discussion, however, was more robust and energetic than usual.

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/07/17

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 04/16/18

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 05/15/18

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 12/08/18

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 01/25/19

I grew up in metro Detroit. The book has excellent historical insights. The underlying topic is amazing. If you don’t like to think outside the box, you may not like this book. Personally I loved it and I think the story needs to be told. God creates all beings as perfect, this story is about someone that is perfect in Gods eyes, but imperfect in human eyes.

 
  "" by kbatson (see profile) 04/27/19

 
  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 10/05/19

 
  "" by krilljack (see profile) 07/04/20

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