WIJFR: The Virgin Suicides

28 Aug

The Virgin Suicides
Jeffrey Eugenides
243 pages

I’m just going to say it:  I have no idea whether or not I liked this book.  Tonight someone told me the movie was better than the book… but I don’t know if I want to try.

I expected the book to be depressing, until I read a review before the title page that said, “Rhapsodic… with a deft, often comedic touch…” People Magazine.  First, who knew People Magazine knew such big words?  Maybe they had an intern who was studying for the SATs.  Anyway, I thought maybe I would laugh here and there and that would help make the book the literary classic that I’ve heard it is.   No, I didn’t laugh once.  In fact, I was actually quite depressed myself when the book ended.

I really enjoyed the author’s style, however.  The book took place from the point of view of the boys who lived across the street from the five sisters who, as the book title suggests, all committed suicide.  The adolescent boys struggled with trying to understand girls in general, let alone the depressed and disturbed girls who lived across the street who had strangely strict parents.  I think if the boys had known what the girls were going to do, they would have tried to stop them.  Deep down, they loved them.  They wanted to help.

What I didn’t enjoy was the chapter length.  It sounds petty, I know, but with only five chapters total and paragraphs that ran on for two pages sometimes, I found it hard to find a stopping point before I went to bed last night.  And of course, I didn’t enjoy the subject matter.  It was interesting to read how the girls’ psyches developed after the first, almost unexplained, suicide of the first sister.  The books wasn’t based  on a true story and while I suppose the whole plot is technically possible, I don’t think it’s very likely to happen in real life.

Really, I’m still on the fence with this book.  I thought about it all evening while I was work.  I want to like this book, I really do, and I certainly don’t dislike or hate it… so where does that leave me?  Unsure.


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