I think the beginning lines of this story sums up what it's about nicely, so that's what I will use:
"I was born twice: first as a baby girl on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of 1974." -- Calliope/Cal Stephanides
This was such a great book. The first chapter was sort of off-putting for me. In the begining the prose shifted between straight-forward and flowery, epic descriptions. Even the narrator, Cal, said his writing was Homeric and that it was genetic. But as Cal explain his history starting with his grandparents trials in the old country and their eventual move to America in the 20's, you become more and more involved with his story.
We follow his grandparents (who were related) and his parents (who were also related) through their lives, watching what led up to what and who Cal was. We watch what shaped his relatives -- values from the old country, values from the new, war, racial tension, etc. So, the reader gets so much more than just a story about a hermaphrodite. You get to feel like you're a friend of the family. We're also treated to breaks where Cal talks about his budding relationship with a woman named Julie. By his own admission, Cal "loves 'em and leaves 'em".
I don't even know what to say about this book really. It's fascinating. As one of my friends says about the book, "I don't know if I like this, but it is enthralling. I couldn't stop reading it."