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The Virgin Suicides Paperback – June 1, 1994
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- Publisher : Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (June 1, 1994)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0446670251
- ISBN-13 : 978-0446670258
- Item Weight : 9.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.75 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,442,136 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
"A timely novel highlighting the worth and delicate nature of Nature itself." -Delia Owens Learn more
Top reviews from the United States
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Summarily, his description of the plight of the adolescent girls wad so adept it made me wonder if Middlesex was an autobiography. Or, had he read my diary?
That’s Eugenides. Don’t expect to put one of his books down and be done with it. You will reference it in your life and memories for a long time.
The characters were so well developed I felt I knew them and remember them fondly.
If you haven’t read Middlesex; you are missing this author’s masterpiece.
I read this book at least once a year and I haven't gotten tired of it. It's beautifully written, but it's a short novel, and a simple tale.
I became obsessed with The Virgin Suicides when I saw the commercial for the movie on television at age 10 or 11. I begged my parents to let me see it. They forbid it. I wasn't able to watch it until I was fully grown and married, I read the book afterward. I'm now thankful for that because I think if I'd seen the seen the movie and read the book as a tween/teen, it would have definitely negatively influenced my adolescence. I did have severe depression and my parents kept watch over me much like the parents in the story. I was definitely the Lux type as a teenager and luckily I grew out of it.
Since I see the parallels in my past reflected in the story, when I read it I feel like the sister who lived. Eugenides writes the girls so realistically that I can't help but feel so connected to them, like they are my family. I grieve for them at the end of the book after each reading. Especially since I see so many teen girls damaging themselves the same way the sisters did, over bullying in school or other problems. This book definitely shows how suicide can rip families apart. I read somewhere that suicide affects a family for 10 generations. That's a long time, and I do believe its true.
I don't feel this is a YA book, though I've seen it classified as one. It's far too dark, and while condemning suicide, Eugenides simultaneously glorifies it. Yes, the survivor's hearts were broken. But more is made of the fact that the sisters will be young and beautiful in their memories forever. How irresistible for a young girl is that? Yes, I'll be dead, but I'll have impacted an entire town for years to come with my death. Yes, my boyfriend will move on and marry, but he'll discuss me and my death with his friends at high school reunions.... He'll never get over me. To be immortalized is every teen girl's wildest dream. If one has to kill herself to do it, she will. For an already depressed and impressionable teen girl, this book is a loaded gun.
I have a beautiful blonde daughter of my own now. I'm hiding this book from her until she's at least 25.
Top reviews from other countries
I had my doubts when I read the title, but I bought this because it was very cheap, and because I thought 'Middlesex' worthwhile. 'The Virgin Suicides' (they aren't all virgins anyway) was in no way worthwhile. It was immensely depressing. Much of the detail seems unnecessary. Many of the young male hangers-on seemed to have no role to play. I can say - only just about - that I don't regret reading it, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it. There should always be a point to reading a novel, but I couldn't see any point in this one.
But it's a beautiful, thought-provoking and mournful read about lost hope and childhood - not just for the girls but the posse of boys who grew up with them, including the narrator. The boys' obsession follows them throughout their lives, undermining their relationships with women and life in general in the decades after the girls have died. It's fitting that the boys were there for the defining moments of the girls' lives but this stalkerish behaviour can feel uncomfortable and was only explained in the very last pages, giving it a rounded but tragic conclusion.
Highly recommended with some missing steps and a slow pace which is why it's a four, not five-star book - but one which will stay with you long after you finish the final page. I'll definitely be reading his other books - Middlesex next.
Although it's a tragic story I didn't care much for any of the characters. It's hard to understand why the sisters were so attractive for so long to their male peers. Some of the author's descriptions left me feeling a bit queasy I must admit! There's an element of mystery surrounding the sisters - their lives and deaths - but why the boys' obsession with them continued into adulthood is an even bigger mystery. The dark humour was the most entertaining part of the book for me. The author's witty and shrewd observations of their very American middle class neighbourhood were very amusing so the actual suicides seemed funny too. In fact I thought the whole book was quite lighthearted and not to be taken too seriously because neither the characters nor the situation were very credible.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book but it's not very long and for interest's sake it's worth a read.