Being in the “Middle” of Family Drama That Never Ends

Thanksgiving not only brings great food, but of course tons of family drama. Whether you are caught in the middle or just an innocent bystander, here are two novels that are my favorites when it comes to family.

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg takes a look at a suburban Chicago family dealing with divorce, obesity and the epic planning of a b'nai mitzvah party. I love books that take place in Chicago, and this one is not only full of local settings, but Attenberg's characters seem to be real people who are full of insecurities, hopes, fears and judgments. You know—your typical American family.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides may have a similar title, but I wouldn't call this family typical. Yes, it was Oprah's 2007 Book Club pick, but I still tell people about this book if they haven't read it. Follow the Greek-American Stephanides family through decades of American history as the main character Calliope discovers a family secret that affects her life in ways no can imagine. Eugenides is such a great writer that his words hook you from the first page: "I was born twice: first as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan in August of 1974..."

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