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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obsessed
That is all I can say and the best way I can describe my feelings for the book and movie.Its very simple. The book and movie changed my life. They affected me in ways that very few other books and movies ever have or have ever had the capacity to do.It has a pretty big place in the fabric of my life.
I read some in the book every day. It and the movie have become a...
Published on June 3 2004 by Miss Hater

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Despite the theme, it was forgettable.
Right off the back, I hate when an author chooses to reveal what is going to happen at the end, in the beginning. It's incredibly frustrating and succeeds in making me lose some interest in the story. Other than that important factor, the book was good. Eugenides chose an interesting way of narrating, by using a group of adolescent boys who obsess over the suicidal Lisbon...
Published on July 31 2003 by L. Hernandez


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obsessed, June 3 2004
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides (Paperback)
That is all I can say and the best way I can describe my feelings for the book and movie.Its very simple. The book and movie changed my life. They affected me in ways that very few other books and movies ever have or have ever had the capacity to do.It has a pretty big place in the fabric of my life.
I read some in the book every day. It and the movie have become a sanctuary for me. Whenever I'm upset or depressed , I run to them and I feel better.It draws me into the Libson's girls world and its fascinating and comforting. Lux, Bonnie, Therese ,Mary and Cecilia are so vivid, that they almost seem like real people to me.They don't seem like fictional characters. They seem like friends.I find myself thinking about them a lot and there are very few made up characters that have ever stayed with me like this.
I'm sure that there is at least one other Virgin Suicides fan out there that feels the same way I do and understand what I mean. I can only hope that it continues to affect and changes peoples lives the way it has mine.Read it. You might be shocked at how it haunts you and the presence it has in your life.I hope I explained it well. Something so luminous and subtextural and dream like yet deeply rooted in your psyche can be hard to explain.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Eugenides is tops, March 21 2007
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides (Paperback)
Let's start out by saying that above all things, this novel by Jeffrey Eugenides is macabre, to the inth degree. But, it's also fascinating and totally bizarre--just one of the reasons you should take it on. The story starts out with a suicide, that of oneof five teenage daughters of the Lisbon family. The setting is Michigan in the seventies, where Eugenides is from and where he's set part of his "Middlesex" another great novel. Some may call his themes sensational, but I call them fascinating. And, it's been rumored that this novel is based on actual happenings--an actual account. This is probably the reason it's spoken of in the same breath as McCrae's "Bark of the Dogwood" and Capote's "In Cold Blood" as those too are hybrid novels--both fact and fiction. Yet the material in Eugenides hands, along with the subject matter, make this a one of a kind book. The narrator's voice in this case, in the matter of "Virgin Suicides" is that of a rather sophmoric groups of teens, and at times I was reminded of Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" with its same tone. The title of this book is derived from a fictional rock band named "Curel Crux" which was (fictionally) a favorite of one of the Lisbon daughters. What amazed me the most about this novel was the way the author makes us think that it's actually the teenage boys narrating the whole story. Remarkable. He's extremely successful and I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking a fresh new voice. Must also recommend another great novel that makes a great companion to this one titled "Bark of the Dogwood" which is equally riveting and complex, though on a totally different subject.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bright but dark also, March 20 2007
By 
Pius Mambo (Camp Wallawalla) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides (Paperback)
I chose to read The Virgin Suicides as an English assignment and in reading the book I then had to watch the film and write about something that intrigued me. It could either be how they were similar or how they were different and how differing pieces from the novel and the film had an impact on the plot or strength of what it was all about.

I rated this book as a 4 because I thought that Jeffrey Eugenides did an excellent job of portraying life as it was like for many young women back in the 70's when this book took place and as a result often ended in a tragic way. Even though it is not clearly laid out and printed in words for you as to why the book ends as it does we all can interpret for ourselves why and I believe that we would all come up with the same answer.

In reading the book and watching the film I found that Sophia Coppola, director of the Paramount pictures classic, portrayed the lives of the young girls and the Lisbon parents in a very similar fashion as did Jeffrey Eugenides as to not change the true meaning of what the book was expressing. In fact the film is almost an exact replica of what happens in the book with silimar dialogue and chain of events. If you pay close attention little details were left out of the film but nothing that I found that drastically changed what Eugenides was trying to say. As I examined both pieces closely in an attempt to write a paper relating the two in some way or another one thing stood out to me. If you get a chance, notice the way that the relationships that the girls have with the neighborhood boys is different. However, I'm sure that all of you would agree with me, but I found that what Eugenides was trying to portray as a dreamy, fantasy-like friendship with the unattainable Lisbon girls in the book was more tangible and realistic in the film. For that reason I expected the ending of Coppola's film to have somewhat of a different ending considering the fact that their relationship seemed more friendly and that they actually had contact with one another.

But in review as a whole, I pretty much enjoyed the book. It seemed very really to me and I'm sure it is a topic that many people touch on whetehr it be from personal experience or being around a similar situation with someone you know or love.

I chose to read The Virgin Suicides as an English assignment and in reading the book I then had to watch the film and write about something that intrigued me. It could either be how they were similar or how they were different and how differing pieces from the novel and the film had an impact on the plot or strength of what it was all about.

I rated this book as a 4 because I thought that Jeffrey Eugenides did an excellent job of portraying life as it was like for many young women back in the 70's when this book took place and as a result often ended in a tragic way. Even though it is not clearly laid out and printed in words for you as to why the book ends as it does we all can interpret for ourselves why and I believe that we would all come up with the same answer.

In reading the book and watching the film I found that Sophia Coppola, director of the Paramount pictures classic, portrayed the lives of the young girls and the Lisbon parents in a very similar fashion as did Jeffrey Eugenides as to not change the true meaning of what the book was expressing. In fact the film is almost an exact replica of what happens in the book with silimar dialogue and chain of events. If you pay close attention little details were left out of the film but nothing that I found that drastically changed what Eugenides was trying to say. As I examined both pieces closely in an attempt to write a paper relating the two in some way or another one thing stood out to me. If you get a chance, notice the way that the relationships that the girls have with the neighborhood boys is different. However, I'm sure that all of you would agree with me, but I found that what Eugenides was trying to portray as a dreamy, fantasy-like friendship with the unattainable Lisbon girls in the book was more tangible and realistic in the film. For that reason I expected the ending of Coppola's film to have somewhat of a different ending considering the fact that their relationship seemed more friendly and that they actually had contact with one another.

But in review as a whole, I pretty much enjoyed the book. It seemed very really to me and I'm sure it is a topic that many people touch on whetehr it be from personal experience or being around a similar situation with someone you know or love.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No not Middlesex, but good also, July 13 2005
By 
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides (Paperback)
"The Virgin Suicides" is a fictional representation of a time when this wasn't the case. The anguish in this book is muted, always in the background - simply because its scale is so great that to reveal the truth about it would be overwhelming.
The story of the five Lisbon girls is told by outsiders: the teen boys surrounding them, lusting after them, curious about their mysterious lives. The daughters are Cecilia, Mary, Therese, Bonnie, and Lux; the book begins with Cecilia's classically-inspired suicide attempt, as the Lisbons and the doctors puzzle over its meaning.
Obviously, doctor, you've never been a 13-year-old girl. That's Cecilia's only explanation, and its brusqueness and its quality of "if you have to ask, you'll never know" hint at the rest of the book. The mystery here is palpable - and Cecilia's desire for self-destruction concludes in a single violent gesture at a party.
The social milieu of the book is parties, gatherings, dances - alternated with scenes of solitude. Rarely do we see individual representations of the narrator (a one-time resident of the suburb, who witnessed the year of the suicides) and those surrounding him - and, in fact, the atmosphere of the relationships here is sometimes adversarial. The daughter Lux, surely the book's most compelling character, takes men and boys up to the roof with her out of boredom, vague loneliness, and a defiance borne from pain.
Unsurprisingly, "The Virgin Suicides" doesn't dwell on the morbidity of its subject matter. What's surprising is how well it succeeds in evoking the pain of the girls and the desperation of their final acts. Again, the narratorial perspective here helps to a great extent. We never find out what exactly is going on in the minds of the girls. We're told about the decay of their house, about how they rarely set foot outside following Cecilia's suicide. But the mystery in the darkest rooms of the house is left vague.
The book doesn't exactly dwell on the oppressive atmosphere of its suburban setting. For it to do so would be cliched, and it's a testament to Eugenides's skill that he clearly (yet inconspicuously) establishes the role of suburban ugliness, and lack of regard and caring, in the fate of the Lisbon girls.
The style of the narration, too, is inconspicuous. At times, shocking imagery reminds the reader of the strangeness of the storytelling: an adult male is describing incidents from many years back, told in such detail that one almost turns a cynical eye toward the intentions of the narrator. There is, quite often, a feeling in the narration of fevered stalking - but it comes across as charming, rather than threatening. The real threat in this book is not the unrelenting observation of the girls' every action, or the girls' overprotective parents, but the beast in their minds leading them into darker regions of life.
And that sounds melodramatic, but it's hard not to, in comparison to the novel's technique. A beautiful moment near the end of the novel sums up its emotional atmosphere. In this scene, the Lisbon girls (more reclusive than ever) have received a phone call from the neighborhood boys. Instead of talking, though, they play records over the phone to one another that symbolize their emotions. This could easily come across as contrived, like some statement about the ways in which the vapidity of pop culture overcomes real emotion. But instead, it's a magical and haunting moment.
"The Virgin Suicides": the title is plural, and so it's inevitable that it will end in a spate of deaths. But the real impact of the novel comes from the intervening year it describes: from Cecilia's first cry for help to the conclusion, where private anguish turns into public spectacle.
The book is a countdown - the pace is relaxed, but you know that something horrible is coming in the near future. In spite of its obsessive focus on the transitory things of the material world - the girls, their bodies, the objects and people surrounding them - "The Virgin Suicides" turns out as a reverent tribute to something ineluctable; but try it for yourself! Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Eugenides, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an exceptional, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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4.0 out of 5 stars No not Middlesex, but good also, June 3 2005
By 
Nancy Taylor ((Frankfort, KY)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides (Paperback)
"The Virgin Suicides" is a fictional representation of a time when this wasn't the case. The anguish in this book is muted, always in the background - simply because its scale is so great that to reveal the truth about it would be overwhelming.
The story of the five Lisbon girls is told by outsiders: the teen boys surrounding them, lusting after them, curious about their mysterious lives. The daughters are Cecilia, Mary, Therese, Bonnie, and Lux; the book begins with Cecilia's classically-inspired suicide attempt, as the Lisbons and the doctors puzzle over its meaning.
Obviously, doctor, you've never been a 13-year-old girl. That's Cecilia's only explanation, and its brusqueness and its quality of "if you have to ask, you'll never know" hint at the rest of the book. The mystery here is palpable - and Cecilia's desire for self-destruction concludes in a single violent gesture at a party.
The social milieu of the book is parties, gatherings, dances - alternated with scenes of solitude. Rarely do we see individual representations of the narrator (a one-time resident of the suburb, who witnessed the year of the suicides) and those surrounding him - and, in fact, the atmosphere of the relationships here is sometimes adversarial. The daughter Lux, surely the book's most compelling character, takes men and boys up to the roof with her out of boredom, vague loneliness, and a defiance borne from pain.
Unsurprisingly, "The Virgin Suicides" doesn't dwell on the morbidity of its subject matter. What's surprising is how well it succeeds in evoking the pain of the girls and the desperation of their final acts. Again, the narratorial perspective here helps to a great extent. We never find out what exactly is going on in the minds of the girls. We're told about the decay of their house, about how they rarely set foot outside following Cecilia's suicide. But the mystery in the darkest rooms of the house is left vague.
The book doesn't exactly dwell on the oppressive atmosphere of its suburban setting. For it to do so would be cliched, and it's a testament to Eugenides's skill that he clearly (yet inconspicuously) establishes the role of suburban ugliness, and lack of regard and caring, in the fate of the Lisbon girls.
The style of the narration, too, is inconspicuous. At times, shocking imagery reminds the reader of the strangeness of the storytelling: an adult male is describing incidents from many years back, told in such detail that one almost turns a cynical eye toward the intentions of the narrator. There is, quite often, a feeling in the narration of fevered stalking - but it comes across as charming, rather than threatening. The real threat in this book is not the unrelenting observation of the girls' every action, or the girls' overprotective parents, but the beast in their minds leading them into darker regions of life.
And that sounds melodramatic, but it's hard not to, in comparison to the novel's technique. A beautiful moment near the end of the novel sums up its emotional atmosphere. In this scene, the Lisbon girls (more reclusive than ever) have received a phone call from the neighborhood boys. Instead of talking, though, they play records over the phone to one another that symbolize their emotions. This could easily come across as contrived, like some statement about the ways in which the vapidity of pop culture overcomes real emotion. But instead, it's a magical and haunting moment.
"The Virgin Suicides": the title is plural, and so it's inevitable that it will end in a spate of deaths. But the real impact of the novel comes from the intervening year it describes: from Cecilia's first cry for help to the conclusion, where private anguish turns into public spectacle.
The book is a countdown - the pace is relaxed, but you know that something horrible is coming in the near future. In spite of its obsessive focus on the transitory things of the material world - the girls, their bodies, the objects and people surrounding them - "The Virgin Suicides" turns out as a reverent tribute to something ineluctable; but try it for yourself! Pick up a copy! Another book I need to recommend -- completely unrelated to Eugenides, but very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition" by Richard Perez, an exceptional, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Death Among Us, May 16 2004
By 
Sara Basman (Martinez, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides (Paperback)
I chose to read The Virgin Suicides as an English assignment and in reading the book I then had to watch the film and write about something that intrigued me. It could either be how they were similar or how they were different and how differing pieces from the novel and the film had an impact on the plot or strength of what it was all about.
I rated this book as a 4 because I thought that Jeffrey Eugenides did an excellent job of portraying life as it was like for many young women back in the 70's when this book took place and as a result often ended in a tragic way. Even though it is not clearly laid out and printed in words for you as to why the book ends as it does we all can interpret for ourselves why and I believe that we would all come up with the same answer.
In reading the book and watching the film I found that Sophia Coppola, director of the Paramount pictures classic, portrayed the lives of the young girls and the Lisbon parents in a very similar fashion as did Jeffrey Eugenides as to not change the true meaning of what the book was expressing. In fact the film is almost an exact replica of what happens in the book with silimar dialogue and chain of events. If you pay close attention little details were left out of the film but nothing that I found that drastically changed what Eugenides was trying to say. As I examined both pieces closely in an attempt to write a paper relating the two in some way or another one thing stood out to me. If you get a chance, notice the way that the relationships that the girls have with the neighborhood boys is different. However, I'm sure that all of you would agree with me, but I found that what Eugenides was trying to portray as a dreamy, fantasy-like friendship with the unattainable Lisbon girls in the book was more tangible and realistic in the film. For that reason I expected the ending of Coppola's film to have somewhat of a different ending considering the fact that their relationship seemed more friendly and that they actually had contact with one another.
But in review as a whole, I pretty much enjoyed the book. It seemed very really to me and I'm sure it is a topic that many people touch on whetehr it be from personal experience or being around a similar situation with someone you know or love.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Virgin Suicides, April 20 2004
By 
B. Viberg "Alex Rodriguez" (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides (Paperback)
The Lisbon girls, all five of whom committed suicide in the early 1970s, haunt the memories of boys next door in a wealthy Detroit suburb. A nameless narrator, one of the boys, 20 years later collects and weaves together the impressions that friends, neighbors, and parents had of the dead girls. Except for school and group outings to two ill-fated parties, the girls' lives played out confined to their dwelling, a cloistered existence protected by a mother vigilant for their virtue and by a meek father cowed by his feminized surroundings. Did those surroundings spur Cecilia to throw herself from a window, sending the house into a degenerating gloom that bottomed out with the final exits of the final four? One of the boys, a Twelve Stepper now who made it with the bad girl of the bunch, can't settle his addled mind on a theory, but the rest remember the time, place, and sightings of the pretty Lisbons with the magnified focus of their very furtiveness. The evocative reconstruction props up the adolescent atmospherics of that time (the author is now age 32) as much as it ostensibly dissects the tragedy, which the author's alter ego narrator finds is sadly unfathomable anyway. After this distinctive debut, Eugenides' second effort should reveal if he can expand his appeal beyond his generation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully poetic story, Jan. 18 2004
By 
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides (Paperback)
A group of neighborhood boys are obsessed with the Lisbon sisters who begin a downward spiral after the suicide of their sister, Cecilia. The girls hold some sort of feminine mystique over the boys, something about them enthralls the boys, even though the boys know that they're not perfect.
They immerse themselves in the sisters lives, collecting things left behind from to live through them. It went much farther than just teenage infatuation. The story is told in the collective voice of the boys' view of the sisters and their lives up until their eventual suicides.
I enjoyed this, not quite as much as <i>Middlesex</i>, but this was an enjoyable overall read. I watched the movie first when it first came out on DVD, and while I enjoyed it, I felt that so much had been left out, that <i>that</i> couldn't be all there was to the story, and it wasn't.
The story was a complex weave of things stemming from an overbearing mother and passive father to sex. There isn't just one thing that can be pegged for the eventual suicides of the sisters. Everything seemed to work as a whole against them, but then again, sometimes you get the feeling that is isn't the strict household or the teenage troubles that made them decide to kill themselves.
You're clued in only through the boys who really only have a limited knowledge themselves of what's going on with those girls. So, the reader is left to pick and choose what might have cause their decision.
Parts of this book did seem a little unrealistic. I think it was how sometimes the prose seemed to become too dreamy to be believable, but that may have been the effect that Eugenides was striving for. Overall, the prose was beautiful, the story touching and ominous. An excellent first novel.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A dull, unrealistic read, Dec 27 2003
By 
"elliedom" (Eugene, Oregon) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides (Paperback)
I do not understand the mountains of praise this book has received. I found it very dull, easy to put down, and quite unrealistic. Okay, it's sort of a cute idea to be told from the perspective of pubescent boys who are obsessesed with these girls, but much of it is just in bad taste. The unrealistic parts also bugged me. If children are taken out of school, someone official will investigate. School is mandatory. Particularly if there is a suicide, there would be an investigation ... even in a small town! The boys as men finally comment on the selfishness of suicide, but it is only after we have endured page after page of their own self-absorption, their own stupidity, and their own lack of initiative. The lack of attention to the mother, in particular, is also maddening. She is obviously imprisoning her children and has an impotent husband. Why is there no comment, no alarm about her mistreatment of the daughters? Suicide is not a comical subject. It could be, if done right, I suppose. But this book does not do it well, not at all. It is a book that you'll be happy to put down and not pick up again. ...If I were you, I'd find something else to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Modern Classic, Dec 14 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Virgin Suicides (Paperback)
Not as bloated and overtly epic as his other novel, Middlesex, Eugenides in his stunning, haunting debut introduces a simple, humble lyricism that speaks of much more experienced writers. I read this book in a single marathon-afternoon sitting and have revisited it time and time again since. No book has quite captured that sense of suburban small-town desolation, the close-minded subtlety of social norms, and the awkward vulgar parlance of adolescence quite like this honest, heart-wrenching piece. Set in an affluent Detroit suburb (perhaps Grosse Pointe? the town remains unnamed, alas)in the 1970s, it evokes the particular feel and texture of that decade without resorting to syrupy predictable cliches and sentimentality. Not only the best fictional novel on teen suicide ever written, this book is also not afraid to tackle tough issues, however obliquely, that still puzzle us and have us hot under the collars thirty years later. Industrial pollution, suburban decay, WASPish snobbery and elitism, the ostracization of a neighborhood, overprotective parenting, and most shattering of all, the enduring quality of memory and the profound effect it has on shaping ALL of our lives.
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