This is my first book in the Reading Awards Challenge and is a Pulitzer Prize winner. Just a note at the start of this review, this book is definitely NOT for everyone since the main character is a hermaphrodite. I'm not giving away anything because the main character is also the narrator and reveals this in the first paragraph of the book. There have been discussions on this blog
about reading award winning books because they win awards. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but I do like to challenge myself to read books that are outside my normal comfort zone. That's why I joined the Book Awards Challenge.
Strengths of Middlesex: I truly enjoyed the epic sweep of the novel. The main character, Cal or Callie, relates the story of his immigrant family for two generations. I was very enthralled with the grandparents' story and their recreation of themselves in America. It was interesting to think about their version of the "American Dream." I thought Eugenides did an excellent job with his main character. The point of view is very clear in the story, and I found myself drawn into Cal's internal struggle as he came to terms with his identity.
Weaknesses of Middlesex: I did not like the abruptness of the ending. The story is told in flashback with some hints to Cal's current life. After spending so much time with his thoughts and family background, I wanted to know a bit more about his current life. I need to preface this part of the review by saying I am by no means prudish and quite enjoy well-written sexual scenes; however, I found some of the descriptions of Cal's life in San Francisco to be a bit over the top. I understood the author's point, but felt the writing could have been more subtle and achieve the same goal.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about the book. It is not for everyone, and I don't think I would ever read it again. Would I read another book about the same character? Probably not. I'm curious to hear other people's reactions to this book. Let me know what you thought.