What’s the matter, Cal?
Thank you, Jeffrey Eugenides. Thank you for a book with such a deep and sharp sensitivity. I have enjoyed reading it in very different ways. Though my life has nothing to do with Cal’s, some descriptions have evoked old teen memories (let’s think about Sophie Sassoon and her beauty advice). Sometimes is the use of words, others, the facts and observations Eugenides chooses to describe life changes.
“Didn’t my mother quiz me on uncles and aunts and cousins, too? She never quizzed my brother, because he was in charge of snow shovels and tractors, whereas I was supposed to provide the feminine glue that keeps families together, writing thank-you notes and remembering everybody’s birthday and name days“.
Gender roles and education are a subject of study through the whole book. How your life is defined by your gender, how people treats you and how you see yourself. How everyone is supposed to be, how even language and gender are linked. How society and education influence boys and girls as opposed to biology. “Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling“.
You are a girl, boy
“This was the film Dr Luce showed to me, to tell me who I was. And who was that? Look at the screen. My mother is handing me a baby doll. I take the baby and hug it to my chest.”
Details are tenderly taken care of in this book. Everything has a reason to be there, everything: the Middlesex house, the poetic Cadillac, St Christopher’s Church that never got fixed. The Greek tradition also grows massively into each character. The background of the three generations of Stephanides cannot be understood without the Greek origins.
“What I did next had no connection, I believe, with mi chromosomal status. It did not result from the high-testosterone plasma levels in my blood. I did what any loving, loyal daughter would have done who had been raised on a diet of Hercules movies. In that instant, I decided to find my father, to save him, if necessary, or at least to tell him to come home.”
This book is a must read. Especially if you like avoiding giving things for granted and want to try to understand. Being different shouldn’t be that hard.
Bravo, honey mou. Bravo