Hi all! Sorry for my lack of posting last week but I’m back with my much hinted at book review. This is my first official review so lets get started.
First off I will just you an overview of The Virgin Suicides and my general thoughts. There will be a spoilery discussion section but I will give you fair warning in case you have yet to read it – because we all know there is nothing worse than someone spoiling a book for you.
The Virgin Suicides
Author: Jeffery Eugenides
Genre: YA Contempory
First Published: 2005
Page Numbers: 249
This book follows the neighbourhood boys as they look back on their adolescence and the traumatic event that shakes their town. The Lisborn sisters seem relatively normal for the only date their mother let them out on. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them: 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.
This book as a trigger warning for suicide and I wouldn’t recommend if you’re not comfortable hearing about how these sister take their lives.
I was pulled into this book immediately by the beautiful first line. My biggest issue this that I just don’t feel like this book and what I’d heard about this book lived up to the first line or my expectations. Which is a real shame because I was looking forward to reading this but ultimately Eugenidies, I don’t feel, answer any of the question we have about the Lisborn girls and why they did what they did. I understand that having the story we’re not going to get an in-depth explanation but I felt like there wasn’t’ an explanation at all. And the boys didn’t seem to care about why they all decided to commit suicide but rather focus on remembering how in love they were with these mysterious girls.
Personally I wouldn’t recommend this, but if this sounds like something you’re interested in, have seen the movie adaption or want to form your own opinion of this novel – as I think mine is in the minority – I suggest reading it as it’s quite short and fast paced read.
I knew that is novel was told through the perspective of the neighbour boys — which, at first, I really enjoyed. I loved the idea of piecing together what happened by watching this unfold from the outside. However I do feel like way too many characters were given quite extensive backstory only to the once and used just to tell us one aspect of one of the Lisborn sister’s life. For example the youngest sister, Cecilia’s friend is given a huge background story just to tell us that Cecilia was upset that the guy she had a crush on was in love with some other girl. Also another guy also gets a background story only to tell us that Lux Lisborn had sex with him and the weird, alternate contraception methods she uses.
I will say that having the story told through a group persective was interesting. As a reader it really draws you in to feel like one of these boys. So because I felt that way I would’ve been better to remove these minor character’s backstories and let me as the reader fill in the blanks.
My biggest problem is this idea that the girls had a suicide pact, which I suppose at the end they did, but at the start when the youngest sister first ends her life the other seem to resent this idea and the extra care they are given.
Also I felt like we still have no idea why in the end these girls decided to end their lives and in such violent ways. Cecilia first suicide attempt is to cut herself; however her mother comes home into to save her. The way she kill herself was horrific – she jumped off the roof and impaled herself on the fence. But I saw nothing to justify such a violent death. Yes her mother was strict with them but never hints at abuse and its reference several times just how much the father adores the girls. For me if someone has decided to end their life if such a violent way is because they have been through something severly traumatic.
Similarly I feel that the parent’s reaction to Cecilia’s death was wildly unrealistic. I just don’t see how they could neglect their other daughters. Yes I can imagine there would be a long grieving period because as people we can’t just get over the loss of a love one so quickly but I would’ve thought your other children would be a pretty good motivator to get back to everyday life.
Finally the boys. I know that they are looking back on this time but I feel like for a bunch of guys who claim to be in love with these girls they spend too much time remembering what they looked like and what they wore rather than focusing on the mystery of what the hell happened to make all five Lisborn sisters end their lives. Because these group of boys where obsessed to the point where they where watching these girls every move, the collected some of their vinyl and the crucifix Lux used to drape her bras on. Also there were there in the Lisborn house during the last suicides. One of the girls, Lux from memory, calls them and tells them to come over and save them, to run away with them. However while they were in the house, Therese is in the process of overdosing on sleeping pills and Bonnie’s hung herself in the basement. Lux lets them inside and tells them to wait there while she gets the car, where she dies due to carbon monoxide poisoning. So they were there, both watching from their house across the road and inside the house and the last 3 Lisborn sisters commit suicide and they still don’t know what happened!!
As you can tell my biggest frustration with the book is that we don’t know why this happened, even from reading into what they observed of the family we never know what happens. I’m not saying I wanted Eugenides to spell out everything that happened but I think a few more solid clues and hint would’ve been helpful.
I don’t know maybe I read it wrong but anyway these were my issues with the book.
That’s all for me for today, comment down below and let me know if you’ve read The Virgin Suicides and what you though.
Until next time, happy reading!