The Virgin Suicides By Jeffrey Eugendies
Published November 1st 2005 By Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (Originally published January 1st 1993)
Summary: The haunting, humorous and tender story of the brief lives of the five entrancing Lisbon sisters, The Virgin Suicides, now a major film, is Jeffrey Eugenides’ classic debut novel.
The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters’ breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear.
I am one of those people who fell in love with the story after watching the movie. The Virgin Suicides is one of my favourite movies of all time and having read the book, I fell in love all over again.
The movie adaptation did the book justice but the book itself is filled with such beautiful writing that I can’t help but find it better than the movie.
The Virgin Suicides is captivating. The unnamed narrator could be any of the many boys the Lisbon sisters encounters. The voice of the narrator is compelling; the use of “we” rather than “I” shows how attached these boys (now men, the story being retold as middle aged men) are to the sisters and their suicides, collectively. This is evident in their “museum” of the Lisbon sisters, a series of objects collected as they were thrown out or even stolen.
The story goes beyond the sisters commiting suicide; it explores how their deaths affected the entire town and how they cope through this loss, even if they never really knew each other. Perhaps it is remorse that never allowed them to forget the Lisbon sisters; the narrator discusses how they should have seen the signs of the girls seeking help instead of simply lusting over them and unable to see beyond the physical.
The whys were never explained; they were theorized, which is why some may not like the book. It doesn’t have a conclusion. But I enjoyed that aspect of the book; it allows for an open intepretation of why these girls chose to end their lives at such a young age (though I’d assume the most popular theory would be their parents).
Eugendies has a way with words and that alone is sufficient as to why I love this book so much. The Virgin Suicides is a must read.