Sunday, July 8, 2007

Book Review: The Virgin Suicides


Author: Jeffrey Eugenides

Pages: 249

Personal Rating: 4/5

From the back cover:

Juxtaposing the most common and most gothic, the humorous and the tragic, Eugenides creates a vivid and compelling portrait of youth and lost innocence. He takes us back to the elm-lined streets of suburbia in the seventies, and introduces us to the men whose lives have forever been changed by their fierce, awkward obsession with five doomed sisters: brainy Therese, fastidious Mary, ascetic Bonnie, libertine Lux, and pale, saintly Cecilia, whose spectacular
demise inaugurates 'the year of the suicides.'This is the debut novel that caused a sensation and won immediate acclaim from the critics-a tender, wickedly funny take of love and terror, sex and suicide, memory and imagination.
Virgin Suicides left me with an unsettled feeling in my stomach but I did enjoy it. However much you can enjoy a novel about five teenage girls committing suicide. Eugenide’s descriptions during the novel were compared to the strangest objects and events. The smell of their house was like drilled teeth. The imagery he created was outstanding.

The story is narrated by a man/men. I was never able to determine exactly who it was. I don’t think you were supposed to. It also goes back and forth between the present and the past, sometimes being difficult to tell when it is. Once again, I don’t think you’re supposed to. I did a lot of wondering while I read this book. How could anyone endure as much suffering as those girls? How did their father look the other way? What in the hell was wrong with their mother? It also reminded me of being an teenager and the obsessions and love we so easily develop.

Even though the topic is unpleasant it was a fascinating read.

* I never saw the movie so I have no idea how the two compare.

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