Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I loved Eugenides' first book The Virgin Suicides. It had a dreamy nostalgia to it that appealed to me and I could really FEEL his setting and his characters.
I don't know why it took me so long to pick up his second, Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Middlesex, but now that I've read it I must say I'm quite disappointed. As sprawling family sagas go, it had compelling characters and a very unique story to tell, but for me it meandered too much, got lost on its tangents and continually dropped focus on the most interesting character of all: narrator Cal Stephanides. It frustrated me when Eugenides would give a little snippet of Cal's story that would excite me and then veer off again and tell another involved story about a side character that I never cared for as much as I cared about Cal. If Eugenides had edited about 200 pages out of this story it would have received five stars from me. As is, it was a bit of a chore to read and it didn't compel my full page turning attention until the last 150 pages or so. Once he finally let the family history go and focused directly on Cal's self discovery I loved the book. I'm just sorry I couldn't love the entire book as much as I loved the last part of it.
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