My Town Monday Book Project:
The Virgin Suicides
Since I work in
But I greatly prefer Eugenides first book The Virgin Suicides. Stylistically especially, I find it enthralling. Who else has written a first novel in the collective voice of a group of teenage boys?
The Virgin Suicides is the story of five sisters and the effects of their suicides, one after the other, on their community, and especially on the boys, who narrate the novel. The boys are under the sisters’ spell and watch helplessly as their mother, the community, the church, the school drive the sisters relentlessly toward their deaths. In particular, we see the mother, Mrs. Lisbon, the traditional Catholic mother from that era, as she tightens their leash in an attempt to control her daughters, pushing one after the other off the ledge. It's easy to see the seductiveness of suicide in this novel, how it looks like the only way out. The stakes are not so high for people under twenty, the finality is not apparent yet.
Eugenides attended a private school and experienced an even more privileged Grosse Pointe than most people in the community. But I think he captures the ambiance of a slightly lower echelon very well. But the book's greatest strength is its style. It's poetic. It's heartbreaking.
The Virgin Suicides was made into a movie by Sophia Coppola but filmed in
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