Middlesex Middlesex discussion


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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

that this book is overrated? My mom is reading it now, after so much hype. She asked me this. Personally, I disagree.


message 2: by Betsy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Betsy no i dont. obviously its a matter of opinion, but i loved it. i found it totally engaging and it was a good mix of a quick, light read and something more substansial.


message 3: by Jeremy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:53AM) (new)

Jeremy I read this book a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I thought it odd - but it is highly readable and engaging - that's all that really matters.


message 4: by Lara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lara I loved his first book, Virgin Suicides and was really anticipating his follow up. Admittedly, when it hit the shelves the dust jacket didn't interest me, and so I came to it late. I wish I had picked it up sooner. He's such a fantastics story teller and it was really hard to put down.


message 5: by Meredith (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meredith Not overrrated at all. An engaging and accessible read. He handled the admittedly heavy subject matter with humor and intellect. I also liked The Virgin Suicides, but I liked Middlesex even more.


message 6: by Neha (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neha Didn't like this book at first but in retrospect, it was so interesting and rewarding to read. Very well written and thought-provoking...


message 7: by Alexandra (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:54AM) (new)

Alexandra Definitely not overrated. For me the mark of a worth while book is one that sticks with you in your mind. I read Middlesex almost three years ago and the images Mr.Eugenides conjured are so powerfully vivid that I feel like I read it only yesterday.

I had the opportunity earlier this year to meet Mr.Eugenides at a reading. During his presentation he read a few excerpts from Middlesex, Virgin Suicides and the book he is working on currently. Hearing his words read aloud with all the deliberation and emphasis intended reinforced what a skilled and talented writer he is.


message 8: by mugerita (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

mugerita Not overrated. The writing shows so much care. It is an epic: combining both history and contemporary stories that make me wonder about how ideas of gender have and will change.


message 9: by Bobby (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bobby I think Eugenides does an excellent job of drawing the reader in the story. Although I don't have any intersex friends (and am not an intersex individual myself), I totally felt I could see the world through Cal's eyes. And mind you, I read it before I moved to San Francisco so I think all the credit is to Mr Eugenides's superb writing, and not the gender-bender environment of SF :-)


message 10: by M (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

M This book blew me away. The writing is beautiful, the book's entire message is powerful, so much about it bespeaks masterpiece in my mind - I recommend it far and wide. I couldn't put it down. I was shocked at how readable and relatable such a premise turned out to be. As an aside when I read Virgin Suicides I was incredibly disappointed and couldn't believe it was the same author.


message 11: by mercy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:55AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

mercy i remember specifically while i and my friend read this book, that even though it was immense, we would restrict the amount we would allow ourselves to read in a day, because we never wanted it to end. i would start reading and realize, all-of-the-sudden, that it was 4 hours later...i don't think it was overrated in any sense.


message 12: by Annie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Annie I remember when I first started reading this book, I was surprised because I thought he would explore more deeply the implications of intersexuality. (What does it mean to be both a woman and a man, the connection between sex and gender, etc.). I also assumed based on the first few hundred pages that the doctor he went to in New York would comprise a larger portion of the plot, because he kept on referring to him over and over again. But once I adjusted to the fact that the book wasn't what I thought it would be, and was just as much a portrait of the life of middle class white ethnics as it was an exploration of gender and sexuality, I realized that it was a truly fantastic book. I found all of the characters to be very vivid.


message 13: by Tracy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:55AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tracy Rhodes I agree with what Annie said - to me, the book ended up being just as much, if not more, about the family's struggle to balance their Greek heritage with their acclimation to American culture as it was about Calliope's journey toward becoming Cal. That was fine - I enjoyed the characters and the storylines, and Eugenides is a wonderful writer. I just felt like some of the psychology of Cal's transition, beyond his difficulty in establishing a satisfying romantic life, was given short shrift.

So no, I don't think the book's overrated; I just think it ends up being sort of a different journey than one might expect.


message 14: by Zein (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zein This is one of my favorite all-time books, just because it's such a brilliantly told story. I have one question though that I'd be interested in hearing people's opinions on: why was Cal's brother named Chapter 11. Anybody?


message 15: by Tracy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:57AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tracy Rhodes Well, I'm sure there's a correlation to bankruptcy, but I'm not sure in what sense the author associates that to the brother. Moral bankruptcy? The fact that he eventually drives the hot dog stand business into the ground when he takes it over?


message 16: by Meredith (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:57AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meredith Yes. Overrated. Not bad, but not nearly as good as people gush about it.

I found it fairly forgettable.


message 17: by darcy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

darcy middle sex. over rated? never. it is amazing in every way.


message 18: by Jeremy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:57AM) (new)

Jeremy I agree - Middlesex is only mildly interesting because it is hard to connect with the main character. I read this book a few years ago over Christmas break and I was at a loss to understand the hype.


message 19: by lesmana (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:57AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

lesmana I didn't personally find it hard to connect with the main character at all. I know next to nothing about intersexuality, but it's only superficially about that, anyway. Read this book as a celebration of sexual- and self-discovery and I think you'll find that Cal's intersexuality doesn't alienate. Instead, it allows an entirely fresh and unconventional perspective on these essential themes of human experience.

Besides that, the first person narrative voice is so strong and so compelling that I couldn't help but be drawn in. Imagine meeting Cal at a party - he'd be the sort with a crowd of people around him, listening rapt while he tells story after story.


message 20: by Rese (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:09AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rese Not at all overrated. This book is a real page turner in not only an entertaining fashion but also educational. Held from the first page and never let go. Eugenides is such and engaging writer that I have The Virgin Suicides on order.


message 21: by Kai (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:31AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kai Its not overrated at all. I really enjoyed it.
The Road is overrated, not Middlesex.


message 22: by Stella (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:39AM) (new)

Stella Completely NOT overrated! I love this book. In fact, it's tied for my favorite book of all time. The story is engaging, the characters are realistic (lovable, despicable, laughable...) Eugenides does a fantastic job of roping in the reader and then delivering the goods. Often times, I find myself reading a really great book, only to be terribly disappointed by the end...this was not the case.

I just HAVE to say, Milton's tragic ending (his death drive-by in Detroit) is the most memorable and heart-wrenching scene I've ever read in a book. I cry everytime I read it.


message 23: by Anna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna I did enjoy this book - but found that the family life, back story in Greece, Detroit - worked far, far better than the intersex aspects of the plot. I felt that the gender issue was really quite pasted on, and the San Fransisco part particularly unconvincing. I almost had the feeling that the intersex plotting was something to hang the publicity and attention on, as perhaps the seemingly more "pedestrian" domestic plot might not sell so well - which is a damn shame, because I found his treatment of that verging on masterful. I can still remember phrases from this book, and I read it in 2003. Particularly loved the Turkish Greek history in it - something I didn't really know anything about.


message 24: by Bhasker (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:53PM) (new)

Bhasker as a male i dint study yet


Paula I don't think the book is overrated either. I like the uniqueness of the story telling. As well as the uniqueness of Cal's journey with her sexual self and her overall journey to find her human self in this world. It's not very common to find that story line (sexually confused/ intersexual) in books, so it was refreshing to see someone tell something that would be considered risky.


Jason not.at.all.

this is a great book. i copped it automatically when it first dropped just due to how much i loved The Virgin Suicides. two completely different books but both excellent.

anyone know what dude is up to? this came out in like 2002 or something....


Skylar Burris I too found it difficult to connect with the main character, and I was much more interested in the plight of his family and in those characters. Therefore, the first half of the book was considerably more interesting to me than the second. I felt as if something of the wonder of the book died towards the end, and I was just plodding through to find out "what happens," which, it turns out, is nothing much. Overall, though, I still thought it a quality book, although his odd first person omniscinet point of view was a bit jarring at first for me.


message 28: by Sera (new) - rated it 2 stars

Sera Skylar, you captured my sentiments exactly.


Jenny Moon I made it halfway through this book and had to give up. I thought that it could have been outstanding had everything not been so painfully detailed. I really like the concept, just not the execution.


Adornable  I thought that this was an okay, not great, book. It made me think alot about the spectrum of human sexing. I do wish he had developed the Asian girlfriend's character (at the end) a bit more - she actually seemed real and modern. I really liked the characters of the families alot.

Jenny, you said it well: I liked the concept, just not the execution.



Kirby I really liked this book a few years ago, but I find that I don't remember anything very specific...

I'd heard of the virgin suicides but didn't know that it was the same author.


Aiyana I did feel the book was slightly overrated in that it was heavily promoted as one thing (an introspective look at a character dealing with intersexuality) and turned out to be something else (more of a story about a family's early roots and the struggle between hanging onto one's culture/heritage and adapting to a new culture).

I felt that just as the book finally gets to the more interesting aspects of Cal's journey to accept himself and fully transition from life as a female to life as a male, the story abruptly ends.

I might have enjoyed this book more had it been promoted differently. However, I went in with certain expectations, and the book turned out to be something different from what I expected.

So, I wouldn't say it was a bad book. But in my opinion, it was overrated.


message 33: by Ruby (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ruby Hollyberry I thought it was totally overrated. Not a bad read, as Aiyana said, but the jumps between omniscient and first person are jarring and most of the characters are two-dimensional. Too gimmicky for my taste. A book with a similar time span and atmosphere that is much better is I Know This Much is True.


Patrice Hoffman I loved this book. It's been a while since I read it but I remember most key parts in the book. My brother bought this for me for Christmas and once I picked it up, I could not put it down.


Joyce If anything I thought it was better than I had been told it would be. It will be one to listen to again, I just loved it and loved that it showed how intersexual people are just people!


Nicole I do not think it was overated at all.It has been a while since I have read this family saga but I belive that their is a reason why I enjoyed this book and its becuse it felt real and I loved Eugenides' social commentary.


message 37: by Sam (last edited Oct 12, 2013 07:04PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sam Funderburk Absolutely not! When an author can manage the seemingly impossible, it deserves praise. By allowing people to relate and sympathize with a character that if they saw on the street they would usually distance themselves from, the author surely managed to impact a few peoples thought process, and that, my friend, is when books to deserve recognition. Not when they translate well into money making vampire movies.


Fadia Elia deleted user wrote: "that this book is overrated? My mom is reading it now, after so much hype. She asked me this. Personally, I disagree."

Yes, totally overrated.


Fadia Elia Jeremy wrote: "I read this book a few years ago and really enjoyed it. I thought it odd - but it is highly readable and engaging - that's all that really matters."

Highly readable and engaging is not enough for me. Literature needs to be creative, either artistically or philosophically. This book is not. I think it waas a waste of my time. I had to read it, though.


message 40: by E.E. (new) - rated it 5 stars

E.E. Giorgi Annie wrote: "I remember when I first started reading this book, I was surprised because I thought he would explore more deeply the implications of intersexuality. (What does it mean to be both a woman and a ma..."
I agree with that: I was also a bit disappointed by the minor role of the doctor after all the anticipation created in the first part of the book. But the writing is exceptional, some of the images are still stuck in my head to this day even though I read the book five years ago. My only problem was with the genetics because he really didn't need the incestuous relationship to explain the genetic defect. Many of the hermaphrodite conditions are not even hereditary as they can happen as a random mutation during chromosome splitting.


message 41: by Lucia (new)

Lucia Lazorova Hello, I enjoyed the story, although I think, it's still a bit short for such a big family, but I want to ask, Did Cal manage to have the operation from female to male? it was too many info and I tried with my english to catch as much as I could, thanks for answer :)


Fadia Elia Cal never had the surgery


message 43: by Lucia (new)

Lucia Lazorova Thank you, Dr. Luce said to his parents, that if not treated, he will be at cancer risk...:)


Fadia Elia I don't remember that but, anyway, the author appeared critical of Dr. Luce and his way of thinking and treating intersex. Cal was quite upset by his/her visit with him.


Meredith Sera wrote: "Skylar, you captured my sentiments exactly."

That's what happened to me with this book. I also really wanted to love this book but it just didn't do it for me. I still deeply respect where the author was coming from and the concept of the book, but I could have done without the entire background of the grandparents or read it separately in a prequel. I really like Cal's character and his story, but it just took way to long to vet out his story and I disliked that greatly. I felt it was overly hyped as well and was a bit disappointed. I still plan on reading his other books though, because the writing was good apart from the bad setup.


Joyce Sam wrote: "Absolutely not! When an author can manage the seemingly impossible, it deserves praise. By allowing people to relate and sympathize with a character that if they saw on the street they would usuall..."

How true!


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