The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

                Cecilia went first. She failed on her first attempt even though she needed over 20 stitches on each wrist. But the second time, Cecilia succeeded in ending her life. Her four older sisters were watched with scrutiny around their neighborhood and their school. Were they mourning? Did they know why Cecilia wanted to kill herself? What could be going through their heads? Lux, Mary, Bonnie and Therese would go a year without their sister before joining her beyond the grave. The entire time they were being watched by the boys who loved them. They tried in vain to reach the Lisbon sisters, to understand them, to express to them the love that boiled over for them. That love would take the boys through to their adulthood, to this book that holds their recollections of the Lisbon sisters. They have been examining the evidence for years trying understand the sisters and their suicides.
                The Virgin Suicides is an intense story with a supremely unsettling tone. Our narrators were young men when the girls took their life. Their narration is filled with unrequited love for the girls and the pain of their losing the Lisbon sisters. There is also an overwhelming sense of mystery surrounding the girls. The reader learns nothing about the girls from the girls themselves. Everything is learned through the observation of other people, whether it be our narrators or the many people they interviewed, or conclusions based off the evidence our narrators have collected. The world is built around these girls but they remain an overwhelming mystery. The biggest question being why they killed themselves.

                I really enjoyed this novel. I loved the tone and the obvious despair. I wanted answers as much as our narrators did. No one could ever understand how five sisters managed to kill themselves. Eugenides did a great job with how he told the story with the constant reflections of the girls and the nonchalant descriptions of how much life has changed in the present. The story exist in the present but is looking back at the time when the girls lived because the narrators can’t move beyond it. I think this book is simply really well executed and unique. I give this 4 out of 5 stars.


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