04 January, 2015

Book Review: Middlesex

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From Goodreads: In the spring of 1974, Calliope Stephanides, a student at a girls' school in Grosse Pointe, finds herself drawn to a chain-smoking, strawberry-blonde classmate with a gift for acting. The passion that furtively develops between them - along with Callie's failure to develop physically - leads Callie to suspect that she is not like other girls. In fact, she is not really a girl at all.
The explanation for this shocking state of affairs is a rare genetic mutation - and a guilty secret - that have followed Callie's grandparents from the crumbling Ottoman Empire to Prohibition-era Detroit and beyond, outlasting the glory days of the Motor City, the race riots of 1967, and the family's second migration, into the foreign country known as suburbia. Thanks to the gene, Callie is part girl, part boy. And even though the gene's epic travels have ended, her own odyssey has only begun.
Spanning eight decades - and one unusually awkward adolescence - Jeffrey Eugenides' long-awaited second novel is a grand, original fable of crossed bloodlines, the intricacies of gender, and the deep, untidy promptings of desire.

Thoughts: I really wanted to have this finished by the end of 2014 as it was part of my 100 Best Book List Challenge 2014. I missed by a day so I'm including it anyway - it's my challenge and I can cheat if I want to! 
To tell you the truth I had no idea what the book was about. Like a few other reviewers before me, the title suggested to me English, 1920's or 30's. To say I was incredibly wrong is an understatement!
Middlesex did however, draw me in. From the beginning where Callie tells you
I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974
to the end I was enthralled, first by Lefty and Desdemona's story and then by Callie's. The depth and breadth of the novel was captivating. I found Eugenides writing lovely. For me his phrasing and pace had me completely believing I was reading the story of someone who just needed to get their story on paper. When life was going well for Callie, it was smooth and calming. More troubled times and the writing was rougher and anxious.

This year I'm going to rate all  my books. I'm going to use the same scale as Goodreads, as I rate all my books there as well. They use the following five star system:

*        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it
*****   It was amazing

For this, my first review, I'm giving it a 4. Not a bad start to the year!