Book Reviews of The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides
The Virgin Suicides
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
ISBN-13: 9780747560593
ISBN-10: 0747560595
Publication Date: 10/7/2002
Rating:
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 12

3.7 stars, based on 12 ratings
Publisher: Bloomsbury Pub Ltd
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

89 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 337 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
Hard to read emotionally, the story of a family of five girls as viewed by the boys in the neighborhood. The girls had taken on an iconic status over the years of their lives, due in large part to very strict parenting. When the youngest, least stable daughter takes her life, the family closes in on itself.

Quite an unusual story.
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Helpful Score: 8
I enjoyed the prose, but found the overall story depressing. I am not giving away the story, since the novel tells you this in the first 5 pages, that all 5 daughters of this middle class family commit suicide within one calendar year. My heart broke for these poor girls and all of those around them. I was also frustrated with how they got lost in, or were never acknowledged by, the system. I just kept reading, wondering how, if this were a true story, would any of this be allowed to happen?
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Through Jeffrey Eugenides' fantastic writing, I was completely drawn into the account of the demise of the Lisbon family. I could not put this book down. The language in this book is beautiful and haunting. Though be warned, the book does contain some sexual or violent content.
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Helpful Score: 4
This book is very slow. Too much descriptions that were really not needed. I felt it made the book boring. I think I learned more about the certain type of bugs that were talked about than the girls that committed suicide.
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Helpful Score: 3
I did like this book and I would recommend it to others, but there was something about the way it was laid out that didn't work for me. It may have been the narrative. It seemed to give the story a bit of an exaggerated feel, more like gossip and less like an account of actual past events, not that it was based on true events anyway. It was an engaging, depressing novel, but I liked Middlesex much better. I like Jeffrey Eugenides' writing style. I highly recommend 'The Virgin Suicides' movie starring Kirsten Dunst whether or not you have read this book. This story worked much better on film in my opinion.
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Helpful Score: 2
The story is macabre and fascinating. I enjoyed it, though there were a couple of parts that almost caused me to put the book aside. Once you get past the difficult parts, it is a fantastic read.
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Helpful Score: 2
If this was the first book by Eugenides I'd read, I never would have read "Middlesex." Thank goodness I read the other one first. Contained not a single sympathetic character.
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Helpful Score: 2
I thought this book was brilliant. The narrator's perspective was so interesting--that of the boys in the neighborhood who watched and fantasized about these girls from afar. You couldn't help but mirror this perspective; I was both fascinated and disturbed by the actions of the girls, yet I always wanted to know more. Although it starts off a bit slow, the story really draws you in and makes you want to know just as much about these girls as the narrator does. It demonstrates the loss of innocence in such an intriguing and haunting manner.
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I was looking forward to the book so much, I was excited to receive it. The story is interesting. The problem is the writer. I enjoy lyrical, clever, even wandering prose, if it's done well. I just could not get past how the story is told from the viewpoint of "we."

"We" saw this, "we" heard that. When the author could not find a way to tell the story because none of the young boys that make up "we" would have possibly observed it, he covered it by having "we" do interviews in later years. So "we" interviewed a lot of people in a really creepy way, apparently, just to satisfy "our" nosiness (so a group of men in later years interviewed the other characters?). Ugh.

The editor should have slapped the author at some point, asking him, "Does 'we' have a mouse in 'our' pocket?!?" I fully understand the author wanting to make an impression for his first novel ("Push the envelope, make it interesting, depart from norms. The self-proclaimed literary snobs will love you!"), but certain literary standards should be maintained.
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Helpful Score: 1
Great title, of course - as provocative as you could want, but what I really liked was the phrasing. He really described things in fresh ways. Eugenides doesn't call attention to imagery, and metaphor, but it's there, effortless, plentiful, and perfect. The xylophone of a spine, the viral spread of malaise, winter being the part of earth's orbit in the dark, cobwebby corners of the solar system.

What's that? You all read this and saw the movie like twenty years ago, so why am I telling you this now? Look, I've been busy, OK!?
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I LOVED Middlesex, so wanted to read more from Eugenides - I was extremely disappointed. The Virgin Suicides seemed to me to be an incomplete novel - there didn't seem to be much of a point to the story. Glad it was a short book so I could move on to something else...
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent book. The writer is amazing and has a way of pulling you right in.
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on
Helpful Score: 1
Didn't like it. Found it trite.
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 92 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A strange and upsetting book, but very moving and strangely feels true to life. I highly recommend reading this and watching the movie adaption.
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 28 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Amazing book, somewhat dark but oddly compelling and beautiful.
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Helpful Score: 1
Good book. Wierd storyline. The story follows the suicides of five sisters in a town obsessed with the girls.
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Helpful Score: 1
Some may remember this movie that came out a few years ago with Kirsten Dunst. This book tells the story of a dysfunctional suburban family that becomes the obsession of all the young boys of the town. It's an easy and quick read.
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Helpful Score: 1
A debut novel set in the "elm-lined streets of subrubia in the seventies, and introduces us to the men changed forever by their fierce, awkward obsession with five doomed sisters." Made into a movie starring James Woods, Kathleen Turner, Kirsten Dunst, and Josh Hartnett.
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Helpful Score: 1
An extremely well-written book. Better than the movie! (As always).
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on
Helpful Score: 1
I found this to be one of the slowest moving books I've ever read. It is indulgently descriptive in a way that often does nothing to contribute to the story being told. It pretends to be stream of consciousness, but I felt it was more just plain rambling.
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
It felt like this story lasted forever, and I kept hoping I would get into it, but it just never happened. I almost always finish books to find out what happens, even if I am not enjoying the story. I wish I had given up on this one.
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on
Helpful Score: 1
I read Middlesex several years ago and really enjoyed it. I expected to get the same satisfaction from reading this book, but was disappointed. His prose, as usual, is clever and lovely, but I felt like it lacked the same soul as Middlesex. Predominately because you never really got to know any of the characters - it was narrated by a nameless person in the context of presenting a case - about a set of girls he didn't really know. There was some attempt to show how it affected him and his friends, but without larger context of who he or they were it felt empty.
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 55 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Very sad story, I feel terrible for those girls. The ending was so heartbreaking, I kept hoping it would turn out a different way, but I can't even imagine what they were going through.
On a side note it was kinda a weird feeling reading it since I live right by the area in this book! Fishflies are horrid creatures. ;)
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This book was okay. Definitely a book that teens would think was terrific. I found it a little odd.
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A very good book. Now, I want to see the movie.
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Very sad story, I feel terrible for those girls. On a side note... it was kinda a weird feeling reading it since I live right by the area in this book! Fishflies are horrid creatures. ;)
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A very interesting story. A little hard to get into, but well worth the time. I recommend this book. Wow, I didn't even know there was a movie.
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This book was great! I loved everything about it.
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Eugenides writes brilliantly. A bizarre tale, perversely funny. It evokes all sorts of memories of midwest suburban life.
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Loved it! Sad, a little creepy, very provocative. Read it in a day and then searched for people to discuss it. Unusual first-person-plural narration adds to the voyeuristic atmosphere.
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3.5 stars - 3 for enjoyment of story, 4 for writing.
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The story of five doomed sisters. Harper's Bazaar said, "Eugenides creates an allegory so thought-provoking it leaves a profound, indelible impression."
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Did not enjoy this book.
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From Amazon.com:
From Library Journal
Eugenides's remarkable first novel opens on a startling note: "On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide... the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope." What follows is not, however, a horror novel, but a finely crafted work of literary if slightly macabre imagination. In an unnamed town in the slightly distant past, detailed in such precise and limpid prose that readers will surely feel that they grew up there, Cecilia--the youngest and most obviously wacky of the luscious Lisbon girls--finally succeeds in taking her own life. As the confused neighbors watch rather helplessly, the remaining sisters become isolated and unhinged, ending it all in a spectacular multiple suicide anticipated from the first page. Eugenides's engrossing writing style keeps one reading despite a creepy feeling that one shouldn't be enjoying it so much. A black, glittering novel that won't be to everyone's taste but must be tried by readers looking for something different. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/92.
- Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 36 more book reviews
Brilliant evocation of the 1970s in Detroit... the story of a dying city told through a dying neighborhood and a family whose own disintegration seems to foreshadow the larger.
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 11 more book reviews
found this too be a slow read, but good story.
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Too dark of a story for my taste, could not get into and would not read again.
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More boring than a book called the Virgin Suicides should be and I'm really not sure what the moral of the story was but the ending was dramatic.
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Even though the title gives it away - there will be suicides in the book - I was on edge the whole time I was reading it. Read it right after finishing Middlesex! Love this author!
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This is what fiction should be - lyrical, visceral, poetic, and universal. Set in the 70s, a tale of woe of one generation that somehow speaks volumes for us all.
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I thought this book was a far better read than his "Middlesex" novel. A great insight on teenage lives.
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A deeply disturbing story of tragedy.
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"The Virgin Suicides" is hard to classify in a specific genre, but it needn't have one to be a great book. Detailing the mysterious and claustrophobic lives of a group of sisters in the 1970s, told from the point-of-view of a group of neighbor boys fascinated with the girls, the story is well-written and is both funny and tragic. Eugenides casts a certain moody magic over his prose, and manages to explore themes of sheltering, societal expectations, adolescence, and, yes, depression and suicide, in a haunting story filled with intriguing characters. This is a highly recommended book, and the film version by acclaimed director Sofia Coppola is unmissable, too.
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This was good - nowhere near as good as Middlesex - but a weekend read that I'm glad I read. A bit confusing in the narrative (who is telling this story, exactly?) but what sad circumstances . . .
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I didnt finish this one, I just couldnt get into the writing style.
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Plot line was refreshing and, ironically believeable. Character development was adequate - there were several complex characters - almost too many for the reader to fully 'get to know.' It was an audio cd and 'read well.'
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I had a hard time ever gettin g into this book. The characters and the writing style just didn't pull me in.
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This was a very interesting read about a family with five girls and their struggles. It kept my attention the entire time. I haven't seen the movie, so I don't know how closely they relate, but the book was definitely worth the read.
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I saw the movie a couple of years ago and it's originality and style just knocked me out. The book is very well written, but having seen the movie first kinda took the punch out if it for me. The sisters are seen as an allegory which I didn't follow all that well.
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This book was sad and enthralling. It really moved me because the narrator's voice kept asking the question why, and i found myself having the same desperate feeling I wanted to figure it all out. A brilliant but sad book!
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Also a major motion picture starring Kirsten Dunst and Josh Hartnett. Very provocative, I thought it was great.
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Interesting look at teenage suicide and how it destroys a family. I was a little bit annoyed at times by the first person "we" but most of the time I overlooked it. Well written.
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Highly unusual, provocative.
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odd and sad. worth reading the first time, but would never pick it up to re-read again.
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very good but kinda slow too, and i didn't understand a lot of things in it.
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I wasn't sure what to expect. I'd heard it was a classic, so I gave it a try. It's written from the perspective of the neighborhood boys and how they try to understand what happened.

The story didn't really align to my views about suicide. I think that kept me from feeling satisfied about the story. I couldn't find sympathy for the characters. For something that should be emotionally charged, it just felt detached.
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I tried to read this book, but I just didn't care about the Lisbon girls. I don't normally stop reading a book in the middle, but that is how much I really didn't care for this book.
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Grabbed my interest. I didn't like the movie but I really enjoyed the book.
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I know a lot of people love this story, but I couldn't get into it. Perhaps you will though. :)
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Great book, lots more detail than the movie.
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The novel that Sophia Coppolla turned into a film. A great story seen through the eyes of a bunch of inexperienced young neighborhood boys, in which they seem to blend fact and fantasy as they relate the strange tale of the desireable, beautiful and tragic Lisbon sisters. The story imagines the world of these enigmatic and unobtainable sisters in a way only adolescent boys could.
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This is one fine read. I truly enjoyed the author's descriptive narratives immensely.
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"Juxtaposing the most common and most gpthic, the humorous and the tragic, the author Jeffrey Eugenides creates a vivid and compelling portrait of youth and lost innocence. he takes the reader back to the elm lined streets of middle class america, to the sights, the smells, and the sensation of backyards and school yards filled with wonder and mystery.
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The Lisbon family seemed like the all-American family, living in a great suburban neighborhood with five beautiful daughters. That all changes with the suicide of the youngest daughter. The world of the family, as well as all of the boys who long for the sisters, is turned upside down, eventually leading to an even more tragic end.

A very interesting book! Set in suburban 1970's, the book really reveals the true nature of the Lisbon family, especially Lux, the "wild" sister. The narrator is an unnamed man telling the story through flashbacks of when he was one of the many young men who adored the sisters. Great read!
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Wonderful read. One of the best I have read.
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interesting and creepy
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Wonderful book. I could not stop reading it. :)
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A pretty good book about teenage boys and their obsession with the 5 sisters in their neighborhood and the suicides that follow. Also a great movie.
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Couldn't get into it
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I read this after seeing the movie. I don't want to say it was a good book, but it was, just slightly disturbing. I would recomend it.
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I love this book! This is a wonderful story about sisters, relationships, and what happens when the world gets the best of you. Beautifully told. Try it!
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The prose in this book is some of the most beautiful I have ever read. I have read this book 13 times, and will read it a dozen or so more. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys romanticism and youth. Amazing.
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this book is a very tragic book. It is about how one family's tragedy is seen from the outside.
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Well written, I liked the perspective, that it wasn't the voice of the girls, so even at the end the reader is left wondering what caused them to kill themselves. There are no clear answers.
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This book is about 5 sisters who commit suicide. It was interesting but a little depressing for my taste. Sofia Coppola wrote and directed the movie which stars Kirstin Dunst.
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this authors books are so well written you are there, and even tho fiction, reads like a non fiction in that you are there and all 6 senses are to!!!!!!! Highly recommended.Cant put it down!!
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Great read!
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Couldn't get into it.
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Wonderfully written. The use of language and images is superb, and a treat to read.
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A classic.
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I thought this book was a little far fetched and not nearly as good as Middlesex, which is one of the best books I've ever read.
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This is a great book!
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Great book!
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Bestseller Unusual story about youth and lost innocence in suburbia in the seventies, centering on five sisters.
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As Harper's Bazaar commented: "Haunting...compelling.." It took a while for me to get into the story since I kept thinking how the parents would feel when all five daughters were gone. But once I let go of the 'mom' factor, I truly enjoyed Eugenides writing. Loved his descriptive phrases like "a midnight-blue jar of Vicks VapoRub fingerprinted inside" and "the hopeless expression of a man draining a swamp with a kitchen sponge".
Great writing for a debut novel.
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This is a touching book about adolesence.
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Was confused a couple of times in the middle of the book.
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Boring. I didn't care about any of the characters. I couldn't wait to finish it.
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Great book, great movie.