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The Virgin Suicides

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  139,776 ratings  ·  6,040 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 249 pages
Published 2011 by Bloomsbury UK (first published 1993)
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Abby The boys come to realize that their mythical/romantic view of the girls is false... but it's only after they are dead that the boys realize the girls…moreThe boys come to realize that their mythical/romantic view of the girls is false... but it's only after they are dead that the boys realize the girls are just people. And that's a really powerful thing that shouldn't repelling. It should make you think about how men, especially young men, view young women in our society.(less)
Jez Keighley It's about memory, nostalgia, reminiscence, childhood, mystery, loss of innocence.

It's not really about the girls.
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7th out of 34 books — 54 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Matt
Jan 15, 2008 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
suicide isn't the happiest of topics. the suicides of five sisters is even less pleasant. how do you recommend a book to someone on such a grim topic? easy: just read it.

what eugenides does so well is capture the mystery of secluded sisters, as seen through the eyes of neighborhood boys. this is important in reading the novel. it's not necessarily the lisbon sisters' story, but rather the boys' story, and how the suicides affected them all the way into adulthood (the boys are now men and they r
...more
Linda
May 03, 2011 Linda rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like pretentious books
I simply didn't get this book. I was so desperate to find hidden meaning in it, but there was nothing. Why waste so much paper and ink on something so overtly pretentious and so utterly meaningless? A group of oppressed sisters kill themselves after flirting with the neighborhood boys. How horrible that it happened in the middle of suburban America, where white picket fences are supposed to render such neighborhoods impermeable to tragic teenage death. In the end, all I got from this book was th ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 28, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jen
This book is like a preface, where the real book never feels like it begins. Endless foreshadowing mixed in with various teenage boy obsessions about what a home with five daughters must entail...boxes and boxes of tampons, etc. I couldn't wait for these girls to kill themselves just so the book would be over.
Debbie Petersen
Where to begin. I have read some of the reviews of others who did not care for or get this book. I admit that the plot/storyline, though unique, is not what makes this story great--it's the prose. The writing is luminous and reads more like poetry than a novel. We don't even know exactly who the narrators are--it is narrated in first person plural and the name and even number of narrators is left vague. Eugenides uses metaphor to describe the deaths of the sisters as the disintegration of a subu ...more
nicole
So much better the second time around (and I loved it the first, so...)

Gorgeous, creepy. A suburban mythology. At first, I couldn't shake images from the film, which I thought might detract from really appreciating it as a novel, but in the end it didn't. I think that's because I realized Sofia Coppola had done a remarkable job adapting the text. I mean, holy shit, it's pretty much perfect. Such a moody novel with sparse dialogue, but what is there, is so right on (and often funny)... GUSHHHH.

So
...more
Blair
Honestly, I really wanted to fall in love with this. I've long been aware of its status as a cult classic and many people I know, as well as people I don't know but whose taste seems to correspond closely with mine, have professed to adore it. So I feel a bit uncomfortable about revealing that I disliked it - I'll admit, I have been guilty of judging people a bit if I see they've slated a book I really love, and this seems to be a book that has a lot of meaning for many readers - but, there you ...more
Ariel
I don't even really know what to say. I think maybe a few people are going to be disappointed that I didn't give this five stars, and I mean, I'm upset that it wasn't five stars either, but hear me out.

The thing I liked the most about this book is the perspective. We're learning about 5 girls who commit suicide.. and we NEVER hear anything substantial from any of the sisters? It was genius. The way this book was written is brilliant. Honestly, every couple of pages I would think to myself "When
...more
Josu
La verdad es que me he pensado darle esta nota. En lo que llevo de año las novelas que han tenido la puntuación máxima han sido más bien pocas, y es en parte porque me quise exigir un poco más y ser más duro con mis reseñas. Pero Las vírgenes suicidas lo ha conseguido. Podría decir que me la he leído en un día, pues desde la página 41 a la 230 han sido apenas unas pocas horas de viaje. Pero han parecido meses. Y esa es la magia de la novela. La narración es espectacular, con un estilo bastante p ...more
Michael
The Virgin Suicides is one of those books that you wish you could erase from your memory after finishing just so you can experience it all over again.

Jeffrey Eugenides has the unique ability to transform a very simple story into one of complete beauty. Suicide isn't the most pleasant of topics, especially when it's the suicide of five adolescents, but Eugenides writes it so well that it is impossible not to appreciate it. He blends just enough dark humor in to keep it tasteful and incorporates
...more
Bonnie
Oct 15, 2014 Bonnie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bonnie by: 1001 Books to Read Before You Die
"With most people," he said, "suicide is like Russian roulette. Only one chamber has a bullet. With the Lisbon girls, the gun was loaded. A bullet for family abuse. A bullet for genetic predisposition. A bullet for historical malaise. A bullet for inevitable momentum. The other two bullets are impossible to name, but that doesn't mean the chambers were empty."

This was a strange read for me, yet still managed to be… I wouldn’t say enjoyable. Maybe intriguing is more like it. This book filled me w
...more
B the BookAddict
Apr 04, 2015 B the BookAddict rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Patrick Acuna



Sometimes, you just know when you have found a truly great novelist and Jeffrey Eugenides is one such novelist. I initially rated this book four stars but no, it deserves a five star rating . And where have I been since 1999? On some desert island? How did I not possibly know of this wonderful gem of a book? Mr Eugenides has shot onto my favourite author list and I've ordered Middlesex and The Marriage Plot from my bookseller.

This is a haunting, dreamlike, atmospheric and raw novel. Told from th
...more
Stephen M
Prose style: 4
Plot: 3
Depth of characters: 5
Overall sense of aesthetic: 4
Originality: 5
Entertaining: 5
Emotional Reaction: 5
Intellectual Stimulation: 4
Social Relevance: 4
Writerly Inspiration: 2

Average = 4.1
Click here

I picked this up on something of a whim from the library, audiobook format. Because what the heck? I wanted to mix it up a bit. Because besides my tendency to zone out while listening, it's fun to listen to someone tell you a story isn't it?

I was scanning the aisle of worn-out plas
...more
Stacey (prettybooks)
The Virgin Suicides made me think about what exactly the word 'classic' means when it comes to books (spoiler: I still don't know). I discovered it was first published in 1993 only after I had chosen it to be my eleventh classic of the year. I'd never considered before that one would've been published in my lifetime, but according to Goodreads, many other people have shelved it as 'classic' also. It also has that modern classic feel to it. It seems that everybody has read it or has heard of it y ...more
Mariel
Jan 03, 2011 Mariel rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sing me to sleep
Recommended to Mariel by: suicidal blonde
A caveat: I've not read Jeffery Eugenides novel The Virgin Suicides since 1999. I did watch the film soon after, and that movie is a dullish carbon copy of the book (of course, this is all subjective like how one song gets to one person and inspires nothing in another). Put that way it was like I'd read it twice, I guess. My memory isn't always reliable. I don't feel particularly teenagerish in the memory of reading, though. Maybe 'cause I've carried it along with me over the years. (I didn't ev ...more
Dem
Wow! Bizarre and Haunting are the words that come to mind on finishing The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides .
The story is set in 1970s Suburbia. The Virgin Suicides tells the story of the Lisbon family. Told through the eyes of the neighbourhood boys who are obsessed with the five teenage sisters and they relate to the reader the tragic events that lead up the the suicides of the 5 Lisbon Girls.
I have been pondering how how to write this review for the past 24 hours as I had so many feelin
...more
Scarlet
"When she jumped, she probably thought she'd fly."


The Virgin Suicides, on the surface, promises to be a sad, morbid tale of teen suicide – The Lisbon girls, the eldest being 17, kill themselves over a span of thirteen months. But Eugenides constructs the story so peculiarly that the conventional reaction you expect to have goes flying out the window. The content is depressing. Yet it’s treated in a way that makes it seem surreal and magical, almost romantic, and even darkly funny at times.

I’m
...more
Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*


E, is for Eugenides.

4 Stars



Suicide is one of the most IMPOSSIBLE subjects to view subjectively. Everyone has their theories on it, their opinions and no matter how hard we may ever try we will NEVER truly understand the mindset of those who choose to take their own lives.

The Virgin Suicides is NOT a novel about the act of suicide, in truth, it is a story about coping with suicide. Of attempting to comprehend the moments which led to the act and whether there was something, ANYTHING, that co
...more
Lynne King
I’ve always been intrigued by suicides, and the way in which individuals decide to take their own lives. Some methods are really gruesome. The suicides of Seneca, Virginia Woolf and Dora Carrington immediately spring to mind.

I've often wondered if this capability for suicide is inherent in all of us. And so when I read the reviews on this book, I had to read it even though I wasn’t too sure that I would necessarily like it.

As I slowly progressed through this book, I felt as if I were on a voyeur
...more
Chloe
It’s always a dicey prospect whenever a film studio options the rights to adapt a book into film. Very few works of literature survive first contact with Hollywood. There are those adaptations that excel with help from the author, like Cider House Rules and there are those where the author refuses to have anything to do with the bastardization of their work, which I like to refer to as the Alan Moore approach. There are those films whose adaptations, arguably, best their source material, as in t ...more
Noce
E le stelle stanno a guardare

Breve diaristica dell’autore in pantofole

Ed ecco che un bel giorno Eugenides, mentre fa colazione con la marmellata di fichi e le fette biscottate, si illumina d’immenso e dice alla moglie: “Oggi cara, voglio compiere una buona azione. Renderò la vita facile ai recensionisti di tutto il mondo. A quelle coraggiose pennucce che leggono il libro prima degli altri, e dopo passano le pene dell’inferno perché devono sempre stare attenti a quello che dicono, a come lo dic
...more
Jen
Weird and unsettling is how I felt after reading this story of the five Lisbon sisters who commit suicide in a small community. The story is told by a neighbourhood boy through a series of interviews as he and his friends try to piece together the puzzle of why the girls did what they did. I felt like a voyeur with these hormonal boys as they watched and obsessed over these teenage girls whom were forever elusive to them. Eugenides writing is superb but I just never felt a connection. I give it ...more
Chiara Pagliochini
« Non abbiamo nemmeno cominciato a palpare il loro dolore che già ci ritroviamo a chiederci se una determinata ferita era mortale o no, oppure (nella nostra diagnosi cieca) se si tratti davvero di una ferita. Potrebbe anche essere una bocca, altrettanto calda e bagnata. La cicatrice potrebbe coprire il cuore o la rotula. Impossibile stabilirlo. Possiamo solo risalire a tentoni le gambe e le braccia, su per il morbido tronco bivalve, e raggiungere un viso immaginario. Ci sta parlando, ma non lo s ...more
Ryan
I cannot even express how much I hated this book. This book made me really appreciate how important dialog is to storytelling, as nearly this entire book is narration.

I really liked the movie - and was probably in the minority. But it made me want to read the book, and probably because I enjoyed the movie so much, kept me reading the book to the end, which was painful.

I actually kept from reading Middlesex for a while because I hated this book so much. But finally a friend whose opinion I trust
...more
El
On Friday night my boyfriend and I stayed up ridiculously late decoupaging the shit out of some displays he made for our friend who was selling her wares Saturday morning at a craft show. Because I'm an infant now and fried my brain to hell in high school and college by staying up too late, I usually tucker out now earlier than my body might want to. To keep myself going I was CRAZY and drank a bunch of ginger ale and snacked on peanuts and put on movies in the background to keep my mind amused. ...more
Michael
The town of Grosse Pointe, Michigan are fascinated by the death of 13-year-old Cecilia Lisbon and then eventually her four older sisters. All five suicides have been the subject of much confusion as everyone tries to piece together an explanation for these acts. The girls seemed so normal and twenty years later their enigmatic personalities are still the subject of much speculation as the boys recall their adolescence and infatuations with the Lisbon girls.

The Virgin Suicides is told by an anony
...more
Madeline
Morbidly engrossing. You know from the first page that all five Lisbon sisters are going to kill themselves, and you even know how they're each going to do it, but that won't stop you from reading to the very end to try and understand the five doomed, fascinating sisters who are the protagonists (if that term can even apply to them) of this incredibly depressing but wonderful novel.
Barry Pierce
I let out an audible sigh of relief when I finished this last night. Finally, it's over. It just wasn't my book. The writing was good, that's what the two stars are for, but the story just BORED me. It would NOT end. Ugh.
David
The metonymic treatment of the Lisbon girls for some larger tapestry of childhood innocence or idealism seemed a bit too much for me, and Eugenides' reach for something like a dimmed-down Nabokovian effect in the vein of dark comedy and buoyant prose felt a little bit like a failure. Eugenides is a great prose writer, but I felt that at times his prose felt like it was trying to wear some other guy's clothes. As much as The Virgin Suicides is a eugolgy for childhood innocence, it too is a paean ...more
Stephanie Marie
This book was, as a reviewer noted, "intoxicating" to me. Over the few days it took me to read it-- when I was able to snatch moments to immerse myself in Eugenides' captivating prose-- I found myself dreaming of the Lisbon girls and their suicides. Weird? Yes. Intoxicating? Definitely.

I am one who has the most random assortment of 5 stars, and I debated for a while before I followed my gut and gave this the full 5. Not only was the story itself captivating, but both the "we" communal narrator a
...more
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Rookie Readers!: The Virgin Suicides 3 13 Jul 10, 2015 09:30AM  
A Million More Pages: The Virgin Suicides: Mar 15 2 17 Feb 04, 2015 09:31PM  
Better Read Than ...: January Readalong 6 19 Feb 03, 2015 10:08AM  
Where do you get your books? 24 261 Jan 17, 2015 07:35PM  
Adult Book Club: JANUARY: The Virgin Suicides 1 18 Jan 05, 2015 01:32PM  
USA Geography Cha...: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides 1 2 Dec 29, 2014 01:32AM  
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Jeffrey Kent Eugenides is an American Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer of Greek and Irish extraction.

Eugenides was born in Detroit, Michigan, of Greek and Irish descent. He attended Grosse Pointe's private University Liggett School. He took his undergraduate degree at Brown University, graduating in 1983. He later earned an M.A. in Creative Writing from Stanford University.

In
...more
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“She held herself very straight, like Audrey Hepburn, whom all women idolize and men never think about.” 1437 likes
“Basically what we have here is a dreamer. Somebody out of touch with reality. When she jumped, she probably thought she'd fly” 1212 likes
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