This is a story of a 3rd generation Greek-American family (Stephanides family) told from the perspective of a 40-year-old man who used to be a Girl. Yes, wrap your thoughts on that.
Being confused on the whole topic I decided to sort of do a little light research and I came upon this piece of Information that helped me better understand the agenda that drives this book.
Fact: The term “hermaphrodites” is actually considered offensive.
Hermaphrodites are living things that have fully functioning sets of “male” AND “female” reproductive anatomy – either at the same time, or at different times during their life cycles. They include various species of plants, fish, mollusks, and other little beasties, but not humans. It’s biologically impossible for humans to have full, functional sets of “M” and “F” reproductive anatomy, so we aren’t hermaphrodites.
Intersex people, on the other hand, are those that have a mix of traits traditionally considered “male” or “female” – and sometimes, traits that are atypical for males or females – in the same body. For example, I have breasts and a vagina (“F” traits) and also have XY chromosomes and was born with testes (“M” traits). Some intersex people may also have traits such as ovoteses (gonads with both testicular and ovarian tissue), chromosome types like XXY, or a phalloclitoris that is sometimes described as a large clitoris or a small penis.
This book was an important eye-opener in the expansion of LGBTQIA community and during the course of reading it, I found myself trying to get as much information on such a dense topic. I am eternally grateful for this book coming in my life. I really would urge anyone or everyone to read this book, It opens up a conversation that really should be discussed on the extensive topic of all the nook and cranny in the*Gender Spectrum*
My expectation going into this book was to learn about the human gene of our main character and familiarize myself with the topic of Intersex but I got so much more from this book. I may not be qualified to categorize myself as a “distinguished literary expert” but this book was exceptional in my opinion. Jeffrey Eugenides managed to give the reader a history lesson from the beginning of the book, that wasn’t boring because the voice of Cal Stephanides ( the narrator) was comical and drives the reader to think about the issues discussed.
The story follows Cal’s Grandparents as they are the last remaining Stephanides family in Greece and after the Turkish army invades their land and they are forced to flee to America and start fresh lives but something *not gonna say that because of spoilers* happens during their travels to what seems to be the promised land. We follow them as they get culture- shock, Fight to fit in and ultimately try to live and adapt to the new surroundings.
What truly was amazing was the balls *Author* had, touch on such taboo topics I applaud him, from Incest, Intersex, LGBTQIA, racism, religion, refugees, war and so much more. The fascinating thing is all this happens before 250 pages and it’s so interesting to see it happen at such a crucial time in history when people were not so Open-minded. He was bold when he talked about the 1960s Detroit Racial riot and how the black people saw so much injustice and prejudice, how that topic is still relevant today * Shocking* with the #BlackLivesMatter. Another interesting fact was one of the doctors in the book was studying and Introduced Transgender character, it was so cool to see the reaction of the masses during such a crucial time period when feminism and gay rights were a taboo topic.
He also said, “Here’s what’s not so funny. These lives, irreplaceable sons and daughters of God, human beings all, want you to know among other things, that that’s exactly what they are *Human Beings*
As we progress through the story, we see how the narrator starts to notice how “different she is from other girls her age. This part was hard to read because I couldn’t for the life of me imagine how this teenager in 1970s would cope with this big transition that is happening. Her esteem is low, she hides when in the gym showers and some family members tease her for not being so womanly at her age. It was a very interesting character study.
I would advise anyone going into this book to have an open-mind because it’s a dense slow-burn book; it tends to run out of the story sometimes but remains close to the point delivery. Such a profound and important read and it has climbed the list to be one of my favourite books EVER!!!