Thursday, December 16, 2010

Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

M:

The book starts off by telling what will happen; all the Lisbon girls will end up taking their own lives. (The opening sentences of the book are shared as our last Teaser Tuesday.) I know some people who hate this type of story telling and refuse to read anything that "spoils" the suspense of not knowing right off the bat. I found this approach to work extremely well and couldn't imagine it any other way.

I loved the sad and ethereal atmosphere and how the girls struggled to live life, be normal and find some love in their lives. The book never spelled out why they thought suicide was the only way out and why their lives were so unbearable to begin with. I often get annoyed by not knowing the reasons behind the actions of the characters but in this case if the motives were explained it would've spoiled the tone of the book.

The only thing were I found a little bit left for criticism was the neighbourhood boys, the ones telling the story, doesn't their iterest in the girls seem just a tad bit unnatural?? It doesn't seem too healthy that they'd go around rummaging their trash and storing up their stuff for decades... Anyway, I loved the book, how about you ii?

ii:
Now this is how you do a painful, deeply disturbing and haunting book! Not with the pajamas. Seriously, I adored this! Yes, you knew all along where the book was going, and the only thing that happened was really just that, the girls killing themselves (and you even knew how from the very start) but the one thing you needed to find out, the one thing you yearned to figure out and having told... well, you weren't. There was no reason given. Or more to the point, there were speculations. But while the book was all. about. the. girls. it was never from their point of view.

So all you could do was fill in the blanks. Or try to do so.

I also liked the boys, the "we" of the story. I liked it as a point of view, as a narrator, because we weren't restricted to a personal observation and opinion. And the boys started their fascination when they were little, when it was more normal to go exploring the way they did. Of course, once they were hooked... So were we. The setting of a typical suburb fed this thirst to understand by all means available the lives of the Lisbon girls who were so different from them and their lives. They just wanted to understand.

M:

I agree, the book wouldn't have been nearly as striking if the story was told from the Lisbon girls' point of view. Then we would've known why and the whole point of the book is that we never learn why. The way the boys collect bits and pieces and try to piece together what happened and more importantly why it happened is what all of us want to know. We want there to be a good reason, we want to know there really was no other way out. The sad part is, there never is a "good" explanation as to why a child or a teenager loses their life, no matter which way it happened.

I can't think of any adjectives that would describe well enough how much I loved this one, I'm sure it'll be one of those books I'll read time and again. Oh, and I demand we'll watch the movie version (with young Josh Hartnett as Trip) of this during our next movie night!

ii:

I don't know about the movie, to be honest. Maybe after I'm no longer quite this entralled by this...

Oh, there's so much still left to discuss about this book. And I'm sure we'll keep refering to this book over and over again, returning to the topics and themes. The reasons behind the we-narrator (I've blissfully forgotten all the fancy literary terms I learned in high school!), the significance of the party thrown by the girls, the importance and role of the elm trees, the mother... Oh, the mother! There could be papers written on the mother!

But the thing is, if we did go through all that, none of you'd be any smarter, and you'd be bored out of your twisted little minds. Because the thing about books such as The Virgin Suicides is that you have to read it yourself. And then you can beging to grasp just how much you don't understand.

1 comment:

  1. I don't care if you're not into the book/story by then anymore, young Josh Hartnett in that movie is dreamy.

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