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The Virgin Suicides
The Virgin Suicides
Author: Jeffrey Eugenides
This beautiful and sad first novel, recently adapted for a major motion picture, tells of a band of teenage sleuths who piece together the story of a twenty-year old family tragedy begun by the youngest daughter’s spectacular demise by self-defenstration, which inaugurates “the year of the suicides.”
ISBN-13: 9780446670258
ISBN-10: 0446670251
Publication Date: 6/1/1994
Pages: 256
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.

3.5 stars, based on 782 ratings
Publisher: Warner Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 5 more book reviews
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 + 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.
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.
Honey11682 avatar reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 95 more book reviews
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.
Bibliocrates avatar reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 252 more book reviews
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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reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 20 more book reviews
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.
Readnmachine avatar reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 1456 more book reviews
'The Virgin Suicides' is one of those critically-acclaimed books that, after you read it, you stand back and say "Huh?" And then start beating yourself up for not being intellectual enough or perceptive enough to winkle out the deep and profound meaning, the extended metaphors, and the classical allegory of the novel.

Either that, or the emperor has no clothes.

Eugenides' debut novel, apparently set in the 70s (as determined by the pop songs and teen fashions being referenced), traces the story of five sisters in one family who all kill themselves over a one-year period of time. That's not a spoiler, as it's referenced fairly early on while the novel's structure is being set up. The story is told in flashback from the viewpoint of several young men (their exact number and specific identities are never clarified) who were hormone-laden contemporaries of the Lisbon sisters and lusted for them in various ways during the last year of their lives.

One could, I suppose, expound upon the fact that the interior lives and ultimate motivations of the girls are never shown from the girls' viewpoints. Perhaps this is intended to reflect the notion that women exist only to reflect the ideas of men, or that adolescents are routinely destroyed by the expectations of the adult world. Or maybe that modern families have become so insular that a community no longer sees, or is expected to step in (so much for "it takes a village") when one nuclear family begins to implode.

One could pretend that the metaphor of the gradual disintegration of the Lisbon home is a brilliant and original way to represent the disintegration of the family and their intertwined manifestations of obsession and madness, except that it's neither brilliant nor original. Most of the metaphors, in fact -- the brief lifespan of the fish-flies whose annual cycle of emergence and death bracket the year-long span of the story, the slow dying of the stately elm trees whose beauty and dignity enhanced the neighborhood -- are labored and obvious.

Or one could simply throw up one's hands and move on to a more satisfying read, where characters develop, interact, and advance the basic plot as they reveal themselves and their relationships. Because one will find none of those qualities in this book.
ouischbabe avatar reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 9 more book reviews
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.
Yoni avatar reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 327 more book reviews
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.
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 32 more book reviews
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.
biletzki avatar reviewed The Virgin Suicides on
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!
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 61 more book reviews
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.
reviewed The Virgin Suicides on + 55 more book reviews
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. ;)