My Rating: 4/5
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
I watched the movie before I read the book, I know, shame on me, I usually do read the book before seeing the movie. The movie was amazing, I especially loved the music. The soundtrack is without a doubt, my all time favourite movie soundtrack.
Anyways, I haven’t been reading any literary fiction in quite a while, so this was a nice change. While the title itself “The Virgin Suicides” may turn off some, it really is a wonderfully haunting and dreamlike tale. While suicide is an obvious theme, there are so many layers and underlying themes, it is an absolutely beautiful and rich novel.
The story is told in first person from a group of anonymous teenage neighbourhood boys, each with an obsession with the five teenage Lisbon sisters. You never are told which teenage boy is narrating the story, or how many boys are even in the group. (I thought it was totally genius that you never hear from the sisters themselves, in the novel.) The story begins when the youngest Lisbon sister, Cecilia, attempts suicide and later successfully ends her life on her second attempt. The Virgin Suicides is a tale of the 13 months leading up to the suicides of the five Lisbon sisters.
I found while reading this book that the story isn’t really about the sisters. If anything. It was more about how others react to suicide, and how the then-teenage boys (now grown men) are still obsessed with the Lisbon girls and what drove them to their actions. I believe you are never supposed to figure out “why” the Lisbon sisters committed suicide.
Although, I am sure I will reread this book time and time again, trying to figure out the motives and reasoning behind it all, just like the boys (now men) still go over and over the evidence of the Lisbon sisters.
“In the end we had the pieces of the puzzle, but no matter how we put them together, gaps remained, oddly shaped emptinesses mapped by what surrounded them, like countries we couldn’t name.”
― Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides