on June 3, 2004
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.
on February 20, 2003
In The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, Eugenides uses imagery and the narration of the novel to portray the impact of the girls' lives on the rest of the community. The profound imagery presented in this novel encapsulates the community in horror as the story of each girl's life ends. The mood and suspense of the novel were greatly enhanced by the in depth and sometimes gruesome or frightening imagery used by the author. Some examples of this are, the descriptions of where, when and why the girls killed themselves and the conditions in which they lived. The novel is told by five teenage boys that live surrounding the girls and stalk their everyday life. The novel was written to appeal specifically to the teenage audience, this allows the readers to relate to the novel, and enhances the message the writer is trying to get across. The authors' ambiguity is dripping off every page, which keeps the reader coming back for more excitement while writing about a difficult topic, suicide.
on December 9, 2001
"The Virgin Suicides" by Jeffrey Eugenides is a novel about five young girls who all committed suicide in the 1970s. It is narrated by one of their male neighbors, who was completely infatuated with the girls. The girls were the daughters of the Lisbons. There was Cecilia, who was thirteen, Lux, the fourteen year-old, Bonnie, the fifteen year-old, Mary, who was sixteen, and the seventeen year-old, Therese. They lived in a two story home in a wealthy suburb. The girls were restricted from doing just about anything. Their parents were very strict and enforced Christianity upon the girls. The girls were never allowed to talk to or date boys, wear make-up, or tight clothing. In fact, on Sunday mornings, Lux, would often be asked to go inside and change into something less revealing.
The story displays the impressions everyone in the town had of the girls. One by one the Lisbon girls committed suicide in the comforts of their own home. Cecilia, the youngest, was first. She jumped out of the second story window and landed on a fence. At her funeral it was said that the other Lisbon girls were expressionless and did not show any signs of emotion. They did not even shed a tear. One of the women of the town said people should have realized the fate of the other Lisbon girls by the way they acted when their sister died. The other girls throughout the course of the story took their lives. Mary had to try twice. First she stuck her head in the oven but survived, so she finally took an overdose of sleeping pills. Like Mary, Therese overdosed on pills as well. Bonnie hung herself from a tree, and Lux suffocated herself in a car. The story, although about a sad and touchy subject was compelling to read. Eugenides choice of words and writing was phenomenal.
on December 27, 2000
It is unquestionable that the novel is a veritable tour de force of anecdotal subtlety and insight - the kind that most writers wish they could indulge themselves in and get away with in their writing. The interesting thing about this novel is that Eugenides does get away with it, but just barely. Although the dozens of secondary character sketches are admirably concise and vivid, they are at times distracting and at rare moments steal the show from the Lisbon women, who should rightfully be the stars. This coupled with the continual point of view shift (which could be substantiated if the narrator were characterized more specifically) leaves the reader as disconnected with the narrator as the Lisbon sisters become with the rest of the world. The only reason that I bring up these minor shortcomings, however, is that I did find the novel to be immensely poetic and insightful (and rather envy-provoking, speaking as a fellow writer); I was simply frustrated to be unable to connect with the narrator whose voice is too close to third person to be treated as a first person. I suppose this was Eugenides vision and purpose: to create a sort of in between narrator to work every angle possible. Though it was an admirable effort, it is a bit too gimmicky for me. All in all, however, this is definitely a worthwhile read, one that any writer should pick up. Eugenides transfers his extraordinary perceptive abilities to the page while managing to avoid verbosity or triteness. And that is something to be admired in itself.
on April 9, 2003
Teenage life is always full of its ups and downs, but death is something that few teens deal with and even fewer must deal with the death of a sibling. Cecilia, the youngest of five girls, ended her life after her second attempt at death leaving her four sisters and her parents mourning. The quiet little 70ï¿½s town remained shocked not only after the first attempt, but also even more after the completion of the young girls death. In The Virgin Suicides, Jeffrey Eugendies chooses the neighborhood kids who experienced this tragic case to narrate their tales of mischievous studies they did to find out as much as they could about the five Lisbon girls. After a year of prodding and poking, the neighborhood kids were just as close as they would ever be, hoping to help free the four remaining girls from the dreadful life they lived inside the house. The kids were surprised to have made contact with the girls and were even more surprised to find out that while waiting in the Lisbonï¿½s house for the girls to finish packing to leave, the remaining for has also attempted suicide, one year after their youngest sisters first attempt. This thought provoking novel keeps the reader suspended until the last page. Every detail ever needed is told, and Jeffrey Eugendies writes this novel with a perfect picture painted in the readerï¿½s head.
on June 18, 2000
The Virgin Suicides is a fascinating tale with a core of characters that we are never really given any concrete information about. This ambiguity creates the mysteriousness surrounding the perplexing suicides of the Lisbon sisters, caught in a purgatory in their suburban American home.
The book is written in a prose-like fashion, seemingly re-creating the events of the suicides as if to be presented to a court of law. The author affords us glimpses into the the young lives of the narrators, but only through how they relate to the fascinating Lisbon sisters.
The tale revolves around the unknown experience within their home, controlled by an obsessive mother and weak father. Their experience, however, remains largely unknown, as the narrator's position as the interested boy across the street never affords us knowledge of the inner workings of the Lisbon house. Never are our questions resolved.
What is amazing about the book however, is how the author is able to evoke our emotions towards the girls without giving us any real insights into their personalities. It is this discrepancy between reality and imagination, written in such a flowing form, that makes The Virgin Suicides a wonderful, quick read.
on January 16, 2002
Ive read this book several times, each time it only grows increasingly amazing. Euginides displays incredible talent in this first novel. Through his dark humor and morbid vision, you begin to live the lives of the Lisbon girls. His breathtaking descriptions of the lives, or rather imprisonment of the sisters. Not only does he show great artistry in every flowing word, he somehow always manages to bring out new details, and new visions with each page. You quickly become engrossed in the lives of five mysteriouswomen, not girls, through the eyes of the men that loved them, and tried to sympathize with each emotion that pulsed through thier hearts. Euginides creates these shadowed angels, not by their own thoughts, but the thoughts of those who knew and grew with them through their short lives. No matter what yyou see through Euginides' eyes, you eventually fall in love with these brilliant permiscuous, mysterious girls. You have no choice but to enter into their world, and soon, you begin to realize that some things cant be explained, no matter how blaintant they are. you soon realize that that is how they exist...a mystery.
on December 5, 2001
"The Virgin Suicides" is a lyrical novel written by Jeffrey Eugenides about five doomed sisters in a sleepy suburban town. On the outside they look normal, the mother is a housewife, the father a math teacher, and they are all blonde beautiful girls who seem to have a lot going for them. Cecilia is thirteen, Lux is fourteen, Bonnie is fifteen, Mary is sixteen, and Therese is seventeen.
The story is told from the point of view of obsessed neighborhood boys reminiscing about the girls. They are infatuated with any object or person who came in contact with them. Whether it was a travel magazine, or someone who may have picked up a book they dropped, they wanted everything that they could gather. Cecilia is the first to go, and the story continues on leaving you wondering even more about each of the girls.
It is wonderfully written, as though someone was recalling the story then and there. It jumps from thought to thought, and Eugenides proves to be a wonderful storyteller. He keeps the reader in constant wonder of when and why the suicides will take place, and his descriptions of the house almost make you feel as though you were there.
This novel brings up the subject of teen suicides in an easy to read way. This novel is gothic while humorous, tragic while tender, and will live in the hearts of its readers for a long time. The interesting characters, the shady suburban town, the run down Lisbon house, all play a part to make this novel so realistic and abnormal all at the same time.
This novel was poetic and mesmerizing, I didn't want to put it down. Each girl seems to blend into the other, and each person seems to be telling a mix of what they had already heard before. This book, to me, was like being there, experiencing it firsthand. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the feelings, they all immersed me into a world of love, anger, confusion, and death. It was a tale of the plight of young girls everywhere, the ups and mainly the downs, taken to an extreme most girls do not.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a wonderfully humorous, thought provoking, and magical book telling the tale of 5 doomed sisters, who leave their mark deeply on schoolboys, and readers alike.
on July 30, 2000
On the surface, the book seems very simple, an American Beauty-esque tale of how modern suburbia is unfulfilling, combined with a sort of coming of age story. It is a unique story, where we never really understand the main characters, while getting to know very minor characters. The story is artistic without losing it's wicked sense of humor or it's entertainment value.
Author Jeffrey Eugenides provides far more than a simple story, however; he gives us a multi-dimentional tale with strong undercurrents and quiet symbolism. The book is about the sad fate of the Libson girls, certainly, but on the other hand Eugenides uses the girls merely as a focal point for themes (often using strong symbolism and light subtext) about the place of religion and government, about the nature of humans, about, I might even venture to say, the meaning of life. Consider, as you read, the deeper significance of the reoccuring religious icons, the mini-christ figures, the fate of the neighborhood's elms. The Virgin Suicides is as rife with symbolism and metaphor as Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter", but unlike Hawthorne, manages to stay very readable. To have such heavy symbolism and not create a pretentious book is a very difficult balance, but Eugenides pulls it off with nothing short of brilliance. The writing is fluid and the prose beautiful. Eugenide turns the most mundane into the most haunting and beautful, with very Earthy black humor and a strong grasp on reality. The book is both dreamy and true to life, a paradox which perhaps is the greatest strength of the book.
Though some may find it's ending somewhat unfulfilling, (for the characters have not really grown from where they started, something that your high shcool english teacher will tell you is imperative for a book) there are libraries full of books that can offer you character growth, and few indeed can offer such appealing prose and such powerful emtotions and ideas as The Virgin Suicides offers. I'm running out of space here, but the bottom line is this: you need to read this book. It's funny, it's tragic, it's powerful, it's true to life. Very few authors can boast a better-crafted first novel. Get the book and find out for yourself.
on December 27, 2003
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.