Evelyn's Reviews > The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
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Mar 22, 11

bookshelves: contemporary-classic, all-time-favourites, read-in-2011
Recommended for: Everyone
Read in March, 2011 — I own a copy

One of my all time favourites. Despite its macabre subject, The Virgin Suicides elicits lost childhoods spent during long summer days and is one of the most original coming of age stories I've ever read. There's a lot of warmth and romanticism as the boys who longingly watch the Lisbon sisters, narrate the middle class American suburbia around them. Through the boys, we are privy to a sheltered bubble that Mrs Libson tries to keep her daughters in to protect them from the outside world. Yet this cotton wool wrapping attempt of preserving innocence only makes things worse. The five Lisbon sisters (Cecilia, Therese, Mary, Bonnie and Lux) entrance the boys and after the sisters are gone, its the boys who are left wondering how and why things happened the way that they did.

The descriptive writing is at times poetic and simply beautiful; often wistful and yearning. It goes through the emotions of being young, witnessing death at that age and overcoming it.

Suicide is still sadly a shamefully taboo subject, even in our modernday relatively liberal world. There's just something about it that unsettles people and put them on edge and this book explores some of the aspects of human reactions when it happens in their neighbourhood. Is it strange to say that I enjoyed reading this? Perhaps, but I think that shows how much further the story goes and how many different threads (love, youth etc) can be unraveled from it.
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Quotes Evelyn Liked

Jeffrey Eugenides
“Basically what we have here is a dreamer. Somebody out of touch with reality. When she jumped, she probably thought she'd fly”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides

Jeffrey Eugenides
“It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn't heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house, with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides

Jeffrey Eugenides
“We felt the imprisonment of being a girl, the way it made your mind active and dreamy, and how you ended up knowing which colors went together. We knew that the girls were our twins, that we all existed in space like animals with identical skins, and that they knew everything about us though we couldn’t fathom them at all. We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides

Jeffrey Eugenides
“We couldn't imagine the emptiness of a creature who put a razor to her wrists and opened her veins, the emptiness and the calm.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides

Jeffrey Eugenides
“I don’t know what you’re feeling. I won’t even pretend.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides

Jeffrey Eugenides
“We knew, finally, that the girls were really women in disguise, that they understood love and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides

Jeffrey Eugenides
“They had killed themselves over our dying forests, over manatees maimed by propellers as they surfaced to drink from garden hoses; they had killed themselves at the sight of used tires stacked higher than the pyramids; they had killed themselves over the failure to find a love none of us could ever be. In the end, the tortures tearing the Lisbon girls pointed to a simple reasoned refusal to accept the world as it was handed down to them, so full of flaws.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides

Jeffrey Eugenides
“Added to their loveliness was a new mysterious suffering, perfectly silent, visible in the blue puffiness beneath their eyes or the way they would sometimes stop in mid-stride, look down, and shake their heads as though disagreeing with life.”
Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides
tags: life


Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Mark (new)

Mark Nice review--I may have to go read this one.


Evelyn I'd definitely recommend it :)


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