What I'm Reading: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Thursday, January 29, 2015
I would like to apologize for not staying up to date with my reading posts. Even though I wasn't consistently blogging about A Beautiful Messes book club, I have managed to stay up to date with it. Back in September the ABM book club read Middelsex by Jeffrey Eugenides.  

  • When I first found out that Middelsex was the chosen book I felt a little leery about it because I was not a fan of The Virgin Suicides movie (and Jeffrey Eugenides wrote that book as well), but the plot of this book intrigued me and the book was very well reviewed. By the time I finished this book I found it to be a very enjoyable read. 
  • I liked Calliope/ Cal's story and I liked how we got to learn about how Cal's family history made her into the person he was in the modern day. 
  • I also enjoyed the narration style and how the story sometimes shifted from modern day to the past. I felt like this was a welcome shift and it helped me as the reader to reflect on how the experiences of the past helped to shape the present. 
  • Although I haven't struggled with gender identity, I could relate to the awkwardness Cal experienced in Cal's early relationship and sexual experiences.
  • Having recently researched my own family history through Ancestry.com, I could also relate to the idea of the story exploring Cal's family history to reflect upon the past's impact on the present generation. 
  • One of the discussion questions asked "If you were to write the story of your life, can you step back and see any constants, any ideas that have had a place throughout your story?" I feel like this is a difficult question to answer because I can't "step back" from my life and I am constantly changing and evolving. I suppose one motif one could find in my story is the passing of 2 of my closest relatives...which lead to my being able to move to a new country without feeling like I was somehow disappointing them or making them sad missing and worrying about me while I'm away.
  • I'm not sure if Middlesex has any real villains (even though "Father Mike" wasn't so Godly in the end"). Some might argue that Dr. Luce could have been the villain of this book, but I felt that although Dr. Luce might have been guilty pursuing his own research over paying attention and being sensitive to Cal's needs/interests, he was not the villain of this book. I think that based on the information Cal and her family had given Dr. Luce, his research, and society's opinions on the topic at that time, he probably thought he was making a decision in the best interests of all involved.
  • One of the more obvious takeaways from this book is that it highlights the LGBT community and specifically highlights the lesser discussed hermaphrodite community and makes you consider what life is like in "Cal's shoes" and that sex and gender do not always go hand-in-hand.

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