Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Virgin Suicides--Jeffrey Eugenides

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Year Published: 1994
Pages: 294
Rating: 4/5

"On the morning the last Lisbon sister took her turn at suicide--it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills, like Therese--the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beams in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope."

Thus begins one of the strangest novels I have read, but one that is remarkably captivating. The book is narrated by a group of now-grown, but then-adolescent boys who lived on the same block as the Lisbon sisters, and who were obsessed with them. They are presenting their "evidence"--memories of the incident from their past, which they have never quite managed to understand. The book begins with the retelling of the youngest sister's first suicide attempt, and then carries us through the subsequent months with the family. Just like the narrator/s, the readers find themselves searching for clues, to understand why a young, pretty girl would resort to suicide. But as anyone who has ever lost someone they loved to suicide knows, this is not an understandable act, and by the end of the novel, the narrator/s--and we--are no closer to understanding the girls' choice than we were when it began.

This is one of the few books that I read after I saw the movie, but it didn't affect my reading adversely. On the contrary, as I got to each part in the book I could see the scene in the movie clearly (one of my favorite parts of that movie is when Kirsten Dunst makes out with Josh Hartnett in a car to the song "Crazy on You"). The movie was good too--even Dunst was good in it, and that's saying a lot, because I am not a fan of her acting in anything else. And Hartnett was adorable.

Book a Week # 5 (1/13/09)
Challenge/s: TBR, 1% Well Read

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