When Charlie read the first line of this book to me in the locker room, I immediately asked her to lend it to me. That first line was this – “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974.” With these lines Eugenides delivers a promise – this book will draw you in, captivate you, lull you with its narrative. While this book does what it promises to do, however, I felt like I really had to work to get to that point where I could enjoy it the way I was supposed to.
The story spans three generations, and I felt that it focused too much on Desdemonda and too little on Callie, the narrator of the story. In the beginning I was hooked into the urgency of Desdemona’s story, but it wears off well before the story flows into Tessie & Milton (and I must say this second part took me a lot longer to read). By the time Callie’s story appears I had almost given up on the book. But reading everything through was definitely worth it. His story is FLB-like, magic and real at the same time, as he reveals what he meant in the first chapter when he narrated, “An army tank led me into urban battle once; a swimming pool turned me into myth; I’ve left my body in order to occupy others – and all this happened before I turned sixteen.”
I still find it baffling how it took me awhile to finish the book (and for several chapters I actually had to force myself to read through) and yet still love it. Weird.
~ originally posted on blogspot