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The Virgin Suicides

A book by Jeffrey Eugenides

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Beautifully written, haunting tale...

  • Jun 28, 2009
From 2005 (paperback) I saw this movie back in October and I didn't care for it, so I moved this book up my reading list... I'm still disturbed by the entire story and I wish we had found out a little more of the "why", but I guess that would have made it unrealistic to me, huh? I mean, do we ever know WHY someone kills themselves? Especially if we are on the outside looking in, which is what the narrators are - just school friends of the girls.

I will say this - the book is absolutely beautifully written. The narrative seems to pick you up and spirit you away to the neighborhood. You can see, almost feel the Lisbon girls and their home.

I won't say that I loved it - having just finished it, I'm still digesting it I suppose. But it was a great read, so well... VERY well written... definitely worth a read!


From 2009 (audiobook) I watched this movie several years ago, wasn't really sure how I felt about. I read the book and again, was still kind of torn. Having said that, the story has stayed with me. That's pretty significant because I forget story lines and plots and characters and entire books a lot of time. Heck, I can be half way through a book and realize "oh yeah, he dies in a fire at the end!". So, the sheer fact that the story stayed with me, must mean it affected me in some way.

Someone offered to let me listen to the audiobook and I thought "why not". So this particular review is about the audiobook... I won't go into the plot because you can read that on your own, but it still left me wondering "well, then, why?". This time, it was read by a wonderful male narrator, he really did a lot to remind me that this book is about the girls, but it's told by the boys. I think looking at it from that perspective changed what I thought of the book. I always wanted to know more about the girls and why they did what they did and the mother and father... but...

What about the boys? They are telling this 20 or so years after the suicides, yet they still seem to be obsessed with the girls, they think of them often (even, apparently, during intimate times with their own wives/girlfriends). It makes me wonder if the author was making a statement about men in general or just how things that happen in adolescence shape who we are today. Or maybe it was just convenient because he basically killed off everyone else? *laugh*

But it did make me look at it different. I still think there's too many open holes, but ya know... the boys were young and who really knows what drives someone to suicide anyway. Sometimes, we just never know and maybe that's the point here.

I do think this is probably one of those "must read" books, especially in a book club and especially if you like modern fiction. I will say that I read Middlesex and wasn't impressed, but I think it's unfair to compare books by the same author (although we all do it). Read this one. It has a lot going on.

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More The Virgin Suicides: A Novel reviews
review by . June 30, 2010
The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides is an amazingly insightful glimpse into a variety of different worlds and meanings. As readers you are confronted with the blossoming of suburbia, coping mechanisms, tragedy in a modern world, the exaltation of the young woman, adulthood, childhood, sociopolitical commentaries, and an interweaving of countless other narratives. Eugenides effortlessly constructs a suburban bubble in which the ideal, all-American lifestyle is lived and that tragedy …
Quick Tip by . July 15, 2010
Horrible, don`t waste your time reading this. There is a lot of better books on the list!
Quick Tip by . July 08, 2010
Did not like this book. I am still trying to understand why I read it!
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
Such a beautifully written book.
review by . December 16, 2009
Not only does Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides have an intriguing title, but a movie is based on the provocative tale of the tragic- and unpredictable- suicides of five teenaged sisters in early 1970s Detroit over a period of one year. When the smoke clears, the Lisbon's are left grieving the loss of daughter Cecilia, 13, Bonnie, 15, Lux, 14, Mary, 16, and Therese, 17. The story is told from the perspective of a group of neighborhood boys, themselves trapped in the ambiguity of adolescence, as they …
review by . November 19, 2007
If one of the five Lisbon sisters was crazy, it had to be Cecilia, the youngest. At least that's what all the neighborhood boys thought when she proved them right by killing herself during the first party that the sisters had ever been allowed to host. What none of the boys expected at the time was that just one year later all four of Cecilia's older sisters would also be dead, victims of their own bizarre suicides.     Set in 1970s Michigan, The Virgin Suicides is the tragic …
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Candy Beauchamp ()
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I'm the owner of OffAssist, a virtual bookkeeping company. I like what I do, most of the time ;) - My husband and I got married in '93, we have 2 kids born in 2000 and 2003. I truly love my life. … more
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Eugenides's tantalizing, macabre first novel begins with a suicide, the first of the five bizarre deaths of the teenage daughters in the Lisbon family; the rest of the work, set in the author's native Michigan in the early 1970s, is a backward-looking quest as the male narrator and his nosy, horny pals describe how they strove to understand the odd clan of this first chapter, which appeared in the Paris Review , where it won the 1991 Aga Khan Prize for fiction. The sensationalism of the subject matter (based loosely on a factual account) may be off-putting to some readers, but Eugenides's voice is so fresh and compelling, his powers of observation so startling and acute, that most will be mesmerized. The title derives from a song by the fictional rock band Cruel Crux, a favorite of the Lisbon daughter Lux--who, unlike her sisters Therese, Mary, Bonnie and Cecilia, is anything but a virgin by the tale's end. Her mother forces Lux to burn the album along with others she considers dangerously provocative. Mr. Lisbon, a mild-mannered high school math teacher, is driven to resign by parents who believe his control of their children may be as deficient as his control of his own brood. Eugenides risks sounding sophomoric in his attempt to convey the immaturity of high-school boys; while initially somewhat discomfiting, the narrator's voice (representing the collective memories of the group) acquires the ring of authenticity. The author is equally convincing when ...
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Books, Fiction, Jeffrey Eugenides


ISBN-10: 0446670251
ISBN-13: 978-0446670258
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

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