Middlesex: A Novel (Oprah''s Book Club)

by Jeffrey Eugenides | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0312427735 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingKateKintailwing of Burke, Virginia USA on 7/6/2008
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingKateKintailwing from Burke, Virginia USA on Sunday, July 06, 2008
I bought this while waiting for a plane at Washington National Airport. I had brought two books to read on my trip to Iowa for my grandmother's funeral. However, one was in my checked luggage and the other I finished while sitting in the terminal because my plane was delayed for several hours. Since I've wanted to read this book for a while and I was desperate for something to read, I bought it.

It wasn't what I'd expected. But considering the catastrophe that took over the trip, I was really very glad to have it to dive into more than once on the planes and at the house.

The way I like to describe the book to people who ask me if they should read it is that you really have to want to read it. Instead of jumping into the interesting main character's life, it goes way back a few generations to find out why Cal turned out this way. The history can be kind of boring, though I read every word since I wanted to really understand the book. And every time I wondered why I bothered, something fascinating sprung up to keep me going.

I must admit that I was glad when Callie showed up properly in the narrative, and then I had no trouble finishing it. I really felt for Callie throughout. I cheered for her and felt sorry for him. My heart really went out to Cal. And the ending really made the whole thing spectacular.

I really liked it... it just wasn't what I was expecting. But I'm glad I read it.

Journal Entry 2 by wingKateKintailwing from Burke, Virginia USA on Sunday, July 06, 2008
Adding to my LGBT Bookbox. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 3 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, July 16, 2008
This title keeps turning up in people's "books you'd recommend" lists, but while I was interested, I'd never quite chosen to pick up a copy. But since this one landed on my doorstep, I figure it's a sign that I should go ahead and read it!

Journal Entry 4 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, July 22, 2009
[I read this some time last year, and promptly lost it among my boxes of books-to-be-reviewed; gotta work on that!]

Despite all the reviews I'd seen of this book, it wasn't what I'd expected at all - but (or "therefore"?) I enjoyed it very much. I liked finding out about the multiple generations, even though Calliope didn't discover some of that until the very end of the book; I liked the historical details, even the dreadful ones about the disaster in Smyrna. [I should note here that, from what I've read, there's still no general agreement as to the details of what happened, and feelings apparently still run very high on both sides. But as it was an incident that I had not heard about in school, possibly because the US presence there wasn't one of the shining lights of US diplomacy {rueful grin} I appreciated finding out something about it.]

The through-the-generations aspect of the story included changes in American life as well, once the main characters had relocated there. "Historical fact: people stopped being human in 1913." [The beginning of Ford's first assembly line.] The characters had to cope with changing times, and it was frustrating to me to see each generation get only so far before running into some trouble or other - sometimes due to their own mistakes, sometimes beyond their control. It was also a bit saddening to see the young, romantic couples (including the ones whose romances overrode basic considerations of too-close kinship!) grow apart; even though I've seen plenty of that in real life, I always hope that fictional characters will have a better time of it.

I got a kick out of the description of Middlesex-the-house ("a house that was more like communism, better in theory than reality"), even though it clearly stressed the family. [Especially Callie, who got her neck caught in a sliding door, triggering a vague Floyd-Collins remark from the delightful Chapter Eleven.]

As for Callie's own sexual awakening, en route to becoming Cal: it was both easier and more difficult than I'd imagined, but what surprised me the most was how much I empathized. Apparently, many if not most teens are just as confused and awkward about their first sexual stirrings, whether they're in keeping with societal norms or not! I came to like the character very much, fretted over the choices that the doctors and psychologists proposed, and was very pleased with the way things turned out.

Journal Entry 5 by wingGoryDetailswing at Cassidy's Grill and Coffeehouse in Amherst, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (7/22/2009 UTC) at Cassidy's Grill and Coffeehouse in Amherst, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book propped up on a ledge in the entrance of Cassidy's Grill and Coffeehouse (it's in the location formerly occupied by J Beaner, which closed last year), at about 1:30. Hope the finder enjoys it!

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