Kristyn Conner's Reviews > The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
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Jan 22, 2011

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bookshelves: read-in-2011, books-i-own
Read from January 15 to 22, 2011

"The Virgin Suicides" was simply a book that stumbled into my lap a few weeks ago, just as I was beginning to pursue this year-long reading project. My former roommate and I stopped by her place to pick up some money before heading out to dinner, and I spotted the book lying on her already-cluttered desk. After commenting that I had always heard wonderful reviews about the novel and asking her whether or not she enjoyed it, she replied, “Oh, I haven’t even read it yet… but I have another copy so you can go ahead and take that one if you’d like.”

And she was right. She indeed did have another copy; she had previously grabbed a handful of them on her way to class, as the novel had been assigned for my university’s annual freshman reading project. Without hesitation, I slipped the spare copy into my Longchamp tote, making a mental note to read the novel at some point during the semester.

I finished reading the novel this morning, harboring somewhat mixed feelings about nearly every aspect of it. I suppose that with a topic as controversial as “suicide,” I had expected for the story’s plot to be extremely captivating and to continually surprise me, page after page. On the contrary, I actually found the novel’s contents to be extremely predictable… almost to the point where I questioned whether or not I had previously seen bits and pieces of the film before (and I’ve concluded that I have not). The sisters’ actions are routinely typical, and I often found myself wanting to skip entire paragraphs in the hopes of eventually encountering a passage that would catch me off-guard.

I do, however, have to commend Eugenides on his mastery of language, for it was this aspect of the novel that I found to be extremely brilliant and comforting. It comes as no surprise that he has only written two novels; you can almost feel the passion that he has for writing seeping through the pages, entirely intoxicating and at the same time, unnerving. Despite the fact that the novel is written from the perspective of a neighborhood boy, he himself completely infatuated with the Lisbon girls, there were times when I felt as though I was one of the blond-haired, pale-skinned sisters… and that is only a testament to how ardently and skillfully Eugenides is able to write.

I’ll likely try and find the time to watch Sofia Coppola’s film adaptation, but I don’t know if I’ll pick up this novel again anytime in the near future. To put it simply, I didn’t particularly like the way that it made me feel. Read it up at your own expense.

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01/18/2011 page 52
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