Review: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

I’m not sure how to review this novel. Seeing so many of my friends have given this book high ratings but no reviews makes me think that perhaps it’s not just me‽

I had a really hard time getting past the grandparents. It kinda challenged my commitment to not judge other’s personal choices. The same with the parents I guess, not to the same degree, but there was still a bit of taking myself to task for some of my thoughts.

Also, I realised at some point that I might expect too much of fictional characters. I mean, I found the grandfather really weak and unlikable at times…especially at the start. However, maybe I was expecting Lefty to be this perfect literary character and not an actual person. At some point, Lefty did become real to me…and all those things that really irritated me and made me really dislike him at the start turned things around and made him real to me.

That’s what Eugenides did for me in this novel. He made all of these characters seem like every day people. He made them into my neighbours. Liking them, even though I didn’t really know what was going on behind closed doors (of course, being the reader we actually DID know what was going on).

Since I can’t really think of how to review this novel, I’ll tell you that the blurb on the cover does a nice job explaining what the plot of the novel is about. But to understand this novel…well no review can do that…no summery can do that. You really have to meet Callie/Cal to understand why this novel is so amazing.

I’m not sure the moment when Callie realised that she was different. Or when Cal realised that he was real. But he does a wonderful job at the end summing it up. Gender does not define us. We are who we are…and Cal, along with all of his family are just wonderful…faults, and non-faults alike…simply wonderful…again, gender doesn’t define us….try to remember that next time if you’re the type to judge…

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Review: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

20140222-090030.jpgGabrielle Zevin’s debut novel, Elsewhere, is one of those once-in-lifetime books that steals your soul and sticks in your head forever and ever. So the bar was set exceptionally high when I decided to add one of her more recent stories to my list of books read.

When sixteen-year-old Naomi falls down and hits her head, the resulting amnesia causes her to examine her life and who she truly wants to be. Waking up in the hospital, she soon discovers that the past four years of her life have disappeared. She has no memory of her popular star athlete boyfriend Ace. Where is her mom and why are they no longer on speaking terms? Who are these people talking to her when she returns to school? Even her house is different from the one she remembers. Of course there’s a love story twist thrown in for interest. James is the mysterious new kid in school who was there when she fell and rode with her to the hospital. And then there’s Will, her quirky best friend who is probably the best character in the book. Lots of decisions to be made by Naomi as she comes to terms with what she remembers, what she wants to forget, and what she wants to change.

So did this one measure up to my admittedly very high expectations? Yes and no. It’s really not fair or compare it to Elsewhere as they’re two completely different kinds of stories. Whereas Elsewhere is a story full of mysticism and the afterlife, Memoirs is more of a true to life, coming of age story. Still, it’s an excellent young adult book with highly likeable characters and enjoyable dialogue written by an outstanding author.

~Thalia

Buy it Now: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac