Friday, July 8, 2016

Middlesex / Jeffrey Eugenides / 529 pgs

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974. . . My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver's license...records my first name simply as Cal."
I just finished 2003's Pulitzer Prize winning fiction book "Middlesex" for the transgender category for BookRiot's #ReadHarder challenge and I really enjoyed it. The book is long, and I listened to the audiobook, so that was 21 hours for the book. Nevertheless, I didn't feel too daunted and the story of Cal, and Cal's grandparents and parents, was really interesting. Jeffrey Eugenides builds a story that feels like it had to be an actual true story, by using real events in the Greco-Turkish War, the beginnings of the Nation of Islam, and the rise and fall of Detroit. 

However, that is only the first half of the book. The second half focuses solely on Callie/Cal and the journey Callie takes to learn of her origins and sex. Since the book was published in 2001, some words like "hermaphrodite" have fallen out of fashion in favor of "intersex." Also, the book is about someone who is intersex, raised as a girl, but finds that their chromosomes are definitely that of a male. According to the moderators at #ReadHarder, this book still fit in the transgender category since it is about someone who changed their gender identity and had gender dysphoria. Bear that in mind if a patron is looking for books on transgender individuals. Otherwise, I highly recommend it!

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