With my sudden free time, I've taken up reading again. Oh, how I missed it. I'm such a damn nerd. I've finished two books in the last few weeks: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe. If you head to the Library you'll see I gave them three and four stars, respectively.
Let us discuss:
Beeeeeeep, rewind. Spoilers ahead, if you have not read these books.
Middlesex. Hrmph. It wasn't my favorite book in the world, but I did like it. It was interesting enough, but my eyes sort of glazed over a bit as Eugenides dragged me through the familial history of the Stephanides, which, unfortunately, was two-thirds of the book.
I was also sort of let down in the end. I feel like Eugenides set me up for this huuuuuge shocker. Like, some crazy family history (which was crazy, albeit incestual) would lead to this absolute freak of a child, who was the first and only of her (his?) kind. But in the end, Calliope (Cal?) was simply a hermaphrodite.
I guess "simply a hermaphrodite" aren't the correct words. I don't think it's "simple" to be a hermaphrodite.
I understand that there are trials and tribulations a hermaphrodite has to endure, but I'd say Cal did well. And maybe I'm only saying this because I'm living and breathing in 2008, or maybe because I've seen too many episodes of Grey's Anatomy, but I didn't think it was considered an absolute freak of science to be born with female reproductive parts and un-extended testicles in this day and age.
Although I suppose Cal was not born in this day and age... and really, I'm just rambling... but anyway. I guess I was just expecting more from the book.
With that said, I still recommend it. But if you're at all put off or offended by sex or incest or intersex human beings, I warned you. Although if you're offended by intersex individuals, you're ignorant.
And I Am Charlotte Simmons. I have to say I didn't like it at all for the first 300 pages. Maybe more. It felt a lot like every single college cliche was wrapped into a 700+ page book, slapped with a pretty cover and put on the bookshelves.
We had the No. 1-in-the-country basketball team at the prestigious college, mostly African American, with the token white guy, and they were all complete whores, driving around they're fancy vehicles, paid for by the college's booster club, and having lots of sex with groupies.
And then we had the frat guys, also complete whores and complete douchebags, and every other stereotype you can come up with at the mere mention of "fraternity." Went by names like "Hoyt" and "Vance," and got "totally fucking wasted" at their frat formal, and had lots of sex with groupies.
Then there was the nerdy newspaper guy, who worked for the nerdy campus newspaper, and vied for the affection of the campus virgin, who, shockingly, was the valedictorian of her mountain-top, southern high school, and was oh-so-naive about college life, until she got her "cherry popped" by a douchebag frat guy because she thought he was "in love."
Meet Charlotte Simmons, the campus virgin, who got her cherry popped by the douchebag frat guy, and who, somehow, is interwoven amongst all of these characters and carries the plot through over 700 pages. Of course her roommate is a blonde, skinny, pretty bitch, and there are a host of other characters, including the sorority girls (sluts), the professors (all in tweed jackets, of course), the basketball coach (asshole) and, of course, Dupont University.
In the end, Charlotte, overcoming every trial and tribulation imaginable (bad grades! lost virginity! boo-hoo!), ends up happily in the stands of a Dupont University basketball game, as the GIRLFRIEND of the token white guy, who, in the beginning of the book, was a complete, egomaniac moron, but, against all odds, fell in love with Charlotte because she was so smart! And turned his life around! And!
That about sums it up.
All of that said, I still gave it four stars. It was entertaining, cliches and all. It certainly had its dry moments (very, very dry), but I liked it. You can borrow my copy.
I'm now reading James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. It took me awhile to convince myself to read it. For some reason I was all up in arms because it's fake! Made up! The nerve! And then I realized every single book I read is fake, and sucked it up.
It's called fiction.
Stay tuned. And leave your reading recommendations at the beep.