Fifty States Of Fiction: Michigan


We can’t always travel to the places on our bucket list. But we can go there with books! I started the Fifty States Of Fiction challenge with the aim of reading one book from every state in the country. Each week in 2017 I’ll be here to talk about a different state, share with you some geographical fun facts, and explore how a novel, play, or personal narrative captures the essence of the area. Want to follow along? Check out this free printable calendar I’ve created just for you! Let’s get started!


Today’s State: Michigan

Nickname: Great Lakes State

Motto: “If You Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look About You”

Bird: Robin

Flower: Apple blossom

Entered the union in: 1837

Now, pack your bags everybody. We’re about to explore Michigan as Jeffrey Eugenides portrays it in Middlesex.


In 1922, Detroit plays home to brick warehouses, dark, cloudy skies, and towering smokestacks. Cars line the curbs. Gates guard Henry Ford’s precious factories and a sour chemical smell fills the air. In that very same year, a young couple steps off the boat from Greece and arrives on Hurlbut Street. The root beer-colored brick home now contains four residents, three of which have a secret buried deep within their chromosomes. By 1967, that secret has moved into a house in Grosse Pointe. There, weeping willows shower the lawn with leafy arms. The house called Middlesex is pale yellow with walls of windows and a broken intercom system. The structure is futuristic, outdated, and pocketed with footholds perfect for climbing. Callie is seven years old when she plays with her brother on the property and guides her now-speechless grandfather, Lefty, on neighborhood walks down to the lake. In another seven years, the genetic mutation that began on a hillside in Greece will finally emerge.

Have you read any other books set in Michigan? Have you traveled there yourself? Make sure to let me know what the Great Lakes State means to you in the comments! Check back here next week to explore Minnesota through literature.

And remember, if you want to keep up with our schedule as we travel the country, you can download my free printable calendar.

See you all next week!


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