Saturday, 3 January 2015

Pulitzer Prize Winner #1 – Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides

One of my many reading challenges this year is to read at least five Pulitzer Prize winners. See the post below to have a look at some of the other reading challenges I have set myself.

Getting on with it, I decided to read Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003.

In a nutshell: I absolutely loved it.

Would you recommend this book? Yes, definitely – in fact I have done already to several friends.

How quickly did you read it? I won’t lie it took me longer than I usually take to get through a book but I was never bored. The edition I have is 529 pages, in case that is of interest to anyone.

Why did you choose to read this book? It was recommended to me by friends and I found it for a really good price when browsing in my favourite bookshop. A word of advice: don’t choose the book based on the title – this definitely isn't a book about the county in England.

Favourite aspect of the book? Having subsequently read a couple of reviews on Goodreads etc, a few people really didn't like that the story went back a couple of generations and traced the Stephanides family history. I actually think these were my favourite parts of the book. By the time it got to the life of the protagonist, I felt a real connection to the family. I also really liked the snippets on the history of Smyrna and Detroit that came alongside the family history. I loved the references to Greek epic throughout too (though this may just be my inner classicist).

Anything you didn't like? I’m not sure there was anything in particular I actively disliked. If I could change anything, I would have actually liked some of the scenes towards the end to be a bit longer so we could have had more development of the main character. I’m trying to keep this spoiler free!

Any additional thoughts? Since finishing the book I can’t stop looking up reviews and researching things from the book. The history of Smyrna after the First World War for example, was not really something I knew much about but is definitely something I have read into since. The amount of research that Eugenides must have gone into to write this book is absolutely amazing. The only thing I would love is to be able to discuss the book with someone who has had personal experience with some of the topics dealt with in this novel. Maybe if I ever get any readers on this blog someone could direct me to a discussion place for this novel, I would absolutely love to know what other people think about some parts.

Deserving of the Pultizer Prize? While I haven’t read very many Pulitzer Prize winning books, my opinion right now is yes. Well written, funny, sad, and above all, interesting. Definitely one for to-read lists.

Beth x


  1. Which book is next on the list?

    1. I think I am going to get started on reading a Man Booker Prize winner next, so probably Wolf Hall as I love history :) Not sure where to go for my next Pulitzer Prize winner though - any suggestions?

    2. I actually don't think I've read very many Pulitzer Prize winners, sadly. The only one that's coming to mind is To Kill A Mockingbird, but I'm sure you've read that one.

    3. I had actually only read two before this (To Kill A Mockingbird and The Road) so haven't got much to go on either! Hopefully in a few months time I will have read more and can recommend some! :)

  2. I love the question and answer format. Is that just for this challenge or how you're going to do all reviews?

    1. Thank you! I'm not sure really - I thought it would be a good way to keep me concise for book reviews as I am having to try very hard to not write an accidental essay! I will be writing some film reviews and blogging travel too though so not quite sure how I will do that! :) Any questions you think should be added to the book reviews? x