Mike Finn
Mike Finn asked:

Anyone else repelled by this book and its almost masturbatory reminiscence of what it felt like to be an American middle class white boy in suburbs in the 1950s, with no first-hand knowledge of girls, lusting and longing for the Lisbon Sisters, without actually being able to see them as people?

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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 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.
Tiger eh? How can you not see that "masturbatory reminiscence" is exactly the point of the whole story? It's a book about the death of innocence, and the title is even The Virgin Suicides!

Granted, it's symbolic, but I can't for the life of me imagine how it could possibly be any more obvious.
Braque Yes. But:

1. The book takes place in a wealthy, upper-middle/upper class suburb of Detroit, not a middle-class suburb.

2. The book takes place in the 1970s, not the 1950s.

3. The fetishization of young women is the major theme of the book - it embodies that which it criticizes.
Carolina Not really. Specially since the masturbatory reminiscence is exactly what the author aimed and portrayed. The fact that you felt repelled it's just your response to something that many men (and woman) go through during their teenage years.
Chelsea I'm currently trying to stomach it, but it is truly a struggle. While I know this was Eugenides' point, I find that the way this was executed was so grotesque that the message is lost amid the overdone and tacky prose. Every time I put this book down I just want to take a shower.
Bruna Costa I agree I was slightly repelled at first, given my own difficulty accepting what I knew to be a story told from a rather dehumanizing ( albeit comical) perspective. As a woman myself, I have experienced the heart-wrenching pain of feeling sexualized. I'm just a human. But, as you grow older you come to understand that it isn't always so bleak. That tides turn. That boys grow older and wiser themselves. That they make mistakes in judgement. That's the way they thought. Yes, and they were wrong. It's a great read actually, although I can see why you would say that. Think of the complexity of how a fictional human ( the male) might evolve in his own way... indeed they are not at their best.
Indu Shanmugam I feel thats the point the author was making. He was trying to portray it realistically and make a point because the boys realized it later. It's to make a point about society. Good writing should make you uncomfortable and question life.
Jez Keighley No. Also it's clearly set in th 1970s, so I don't know if you have read it carefully or not. It's not about the girls !
Huw Rhys Oh dear, you haven't understood this book at all, have you? But if you are repelled by it, that's your prerogative, I suspect. But if you think it was set in the 50's........
Annabelle No, it makes you think about our society, the time period and the people. The book was also set in the 1970's not the 1950's. But this books may not be for everyone and that is a personainal thing.
Greg Giannakis I agree with your opinion, but I appreciate the book for the way in which it captures that very "masturbatory reminiscence" of being a middle-class white boy in America.
Leah thats the whole point
Louise Pitre Nope (and it's the 1970s).
Aurora M It took place in the 1970s, not the 50s, and if you read the book closely enough you'll see in the narrator an ironic ignorance -- the boys' complicity in those girls' oppression and deaths, and then coming up with every theory under the sun as to why they committed suicide except the most obvious one. It's what makes the book devastating to read. It is also an insanely accurate depiction of American society then...and now.
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