Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides


First published in 1993, The Virgin Suicides announced the arrival of a major new American novelist. In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters—beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighborhood boys—commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family's fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death. Jeffrey Eugenides evokes the emotions of youth with haunting sensitivity and dark humor and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time. Adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides is a modern classic, a lyrical and timeless tale of sex and suicide that transforms and mythologizes suburban middle-American life.
(from Barnes and Noble)

I hated this.  I honestly could find no redeeming qualities to this novel.  It's told from a collective neighborhood boys' point of view.  Which I guess is cool, but it's so removed from what the girls are feeling that I don't get it.  The girls just seem crazy.  They don't have personalities, really.  They just find creative ways to kill themselves - just to do it as far as I can tell.  It's like they didn't have a reason.  I get that the parents are kind of crazy, but that doesn't seem to be the reason why they committed suicide.  The boys spend the entire book trying to solve a mystery that is never really posed or solved.  It's been a while since I read this - like a year so I don't have a lot of ready examples.  The entire book just had this disconnected mood, like everything was kind of pointless.  I think this is one of those books that tries to be intellectual at the expense of...well pretty much everything.

Prose - not bad, but not very interesting
Characters - not developed, not easy to connect with
Plot - is there one at all?


No one.  Unless (like me) you are interested in seeing what all the hype was about.  Maybe you'll find something in it I couldn't.

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  1. Thanks for this review! This has been on my list as one of those I-don't-know-much-about-the-plot-but-feel-like-I-should-read-it-books. You know the kind :^) I'm bummed you didn't like it- it means it's being pushed down farther on my to-read list! Disconnected characters is one of my biggest pet peeves in books. If I can't feel for a character, I can't care about the story. Did you see the movie? Was that good at all? -Kate

    1. Yeah that reason it's on your list is the exact reason I read it haha. I have not seen the movie - I was so turned off by the book that I didn't want to have anything to do with it anymore haha. That being said, they MUST have changed parts of the plot, because I honestly can't see how they could have adapted it to the movie at all. I don't think I remember there being a single line of dialogue, for one, and people don't take well to stagnant plots in their movies (or books I thought, but people seem to really dig this book so maybe I'm missing something. But then people also liked Waiting For Godot and I'm sorry but that is the stupidest thing I've read. Ever. I'd read this book 20 times over before reading that again)

  2. You must be a very bad reader if you didn't understand why the girls are comitting suicide, and why is a group of boys who are telling the story.


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