Friday 11 March 2016

The Virgin Suicides May Have Flown Right Over My Head

Title: The Virgin Suicides
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
Publication Date: 1993
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The shocking thing about the five Lisbon sisters was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives.

Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux: the sisters' breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear.


The Virgin Suicides is not a book for everyone. Even myself am conflicted as to if I like it or not.

I loved the book for the following elements:

1. The Writing
Eugenides has an amazing way of writing, which drew me in and kept me fascinated. You'll find the writing to be reflective of the period it was based in but it's amazing how a story told through some neighbourhood boys has a language that is eloquent and captivating. It also relayed a heavy tone reflecting the growing despair and hopelessness that the girls and the community went through. I found that emotion was a huge part whist reading and mine were manipulated after encountering different events and characters.

2. Narration 
The set up for the narrator(s) is ingenious. As a reader I've picked up the novel in order to find out about the five Lisbon sisters, but in doing so I've ended up reading through the perspective of the neighbourhood boys who, like me, are constantly looking into the sisters' lives and trying to deduce what is really happening. The boys fascinations with the girls mirrored mine and I feel like that was due to Eugenides' writing. How they felt was reflected on me and it made for the mystery all that more thrilling.

3. Use of Characters
I wouldn't say I love the characters but more the use of characters for plot development instead. Minor characters who may not leave impressions in other novels actually had their own stories to tell, which created a more descriptive profile of the Lisbon sister and were interesting in themselves.

Yet, I found that the book has so many underlying themes and messages that it was hard to wrap my head around it. When I thought I understood what was going on, it went straight off into another direction. What I did get out of it was potential suicide triggers and the affects it can have not only on the individual but everyone else amongst their social circle. But after much mulling I just feel as lost as ever with the entire plot. I do like that it got me thinking and I was invested for majority of the storyline. Nothing is worst than finishing a book and realising you pretty much skimmed it.

It definitely is a fascinating novel that has much to offer, but I feel like for some people it will resonate better than perhaps with me.

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