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Book Beat: Middlesex

Book Beat: Middlesex

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I don't get it. I don't get why Oprah loved this book. I think I get why it won the Pulitzer Prize. It is complicated and controversial, epic in its proportions and characters and maladies and history. My barometer for judging a book is always - does it teach me or touch me or lift me - and this book did none of those things.

Maybe it was the subject matter. The book is about a hermaphrodite who tells the tale of how he (he lives as a he) came to be as a result of the fact that his grandmother and grandfather were actually brother and sister. The whole book just gets stuck in sexual details that feel unnecessarily voyeuristic. I wanted to know this family, not just how they had sex, but how they felt about other things too. I learned more in one line where the author says the grandmother walked through a room after learning that her son may die in the war, and stopped to straighten a pillow on her way upstairs. I wanted more of that humanity and less of the basest form.

I don't consider myself a prude, but this book just grossed me out. Everyone, everything, felt like a seedy night club that might be dangerous but where you definitely would not want to use the bathroom. I feel like I should - because it's Oprah and it's the Pulitzer - but I cannot recommend Middlesex by Jeffrey Eudenides. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio, I'm Amanda Dickson.

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