Student Question

Would you recommend the book "Middlesex"? Why or why not?

Expert Answers

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I personally loved this book and have been recommending it as often and as much as possible.  I think it is a book that both boys and girls alike can appreciate for a few reasons.

First of all, it is a modern story - but the author does a remarkable job bringing in a ton of historical perspective.  He weaves together the current story of Cal (the character who has a genetic mutation resulting in a gender ambiguity), as well as his parents and grandparents.  The historical backstory is told in order to show where the genetic mutation originated - but the stories end up being so much more than scientific.

The entire novel is a story about identity - including immigration to America and seeking a new identity, escaping a difficult past but maintaining heritage, family ties, and social trends in America at the turn of the century.  I loved it for all of these things - and the way they come together masterfully.  It was also humorous at times, and heartbreaking.  I can honestly say that this book is one of the best books I've read that has been published within the last 10 years.  It isn't just another "beach read."  It is rich, full of depth, has characters that are lovable, and a story that is as entertaining as it is enlightening.

I also think it can be appealing to a wide variety of ages - smart students in high school could enjoy it as much as any adult.

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