So if you’ve been around on Saturday, you may have seen that I was reading the Virgin Suicides and halves of two books for Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon. Which means reviews should come. Yeah, there are other books that I’ve read before this one and haven’t reviewed, but I want to write a review on this one while everything is still fresh in my mind. It’s gonna be a hard one to write something articulate and coherent about. So let’s get into it.
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffery Eugenides is a book that tells a story of five sisters (the Lisbon girls) who commit suicide. And that’s no spoiler; you get to know that in the first line or so. It’s told from the point of view of various male narrators who are obsessed with the Lisbon girls. The point of view doesn’t switch between them; they just constantly refer to themselves throughout the story as ‘we’. And because of this, we spend most of the time while reading not knowing whether things are true or just exaggerated by the boys. For a while, I found that alluring. But then it started to get frustrating because I felt as though we were moving forward in the story without going anywhere. Which perhaps makes sense because that’s how the narrating boys started to feel too.
First of all, I’d like to comment on the writing style of the story! It was gorgeous! I love the way Jeffery Eugenides describes things and scenery and physical features. He has quite the way to make things vivid and poignant. I particularly remember a description of one of the girls where he said some thing along these lines: she had lost so much weight that rain gathered in her collarbones. So yeah. That’s an image I’ll probably remember forever.
The book started out brilliantly. Up until around page 80 or so, I was having a great time getting to know the girls and the town and other people in town. I was getting really eager to see if the boys will be able to figure out why the first sister committed suicide. I was eager to see how and why the other sisters will commit suicide…
But then it dragged on.
The book is told in a way someone would conduct a report for a newspaper. With interviewing people and familiarising us with the sources and so on. For me, it was a lot of fun in the beginning, but after the first half of the book, I was just worn out. I no longer wanted to hear about who painted a house or how much fishflies there were. I just wanted to hear something that might’ve been true about the girls. But no. We’re kept so distant from them and I began to struggle from about page 80 till almost page 230.
What made me not completely hate the book was the ending. I think it ended really nicely. The closing paragraph was absolutely beautiful and really gave me closure. Also, we finally get to talk to the girls face to face. Though lots of threads are left untied though, I really did enjoy the ending. And because of that, I got that nice glowing feeling you get after you finish a book you like. Even though I didn’t really like it.
I don’t know whether to recommend it or not because I feel as though there may be something I’ve missed. Or maybe I’m not just cut out for stories like this one. But I really did want to like it and I really tried. But yeah. I’ll say that it wasn’t enjoyable as it was intriguing. It did hold my interest till the very end even though I wasn’t really feeling anything, which might not make sense but is true. Also, I’m the kind of person who gets disgusted really easily and this book does have a few creepy, disgusting elements. This is why I never intend to venture near books like the Lord of the Flies or Perfume.
Anyway, I’d like to hear what you think of this book. And if you’ve read it more than once, did you enjoy it better the second time around? Did you struggle like me? Let me know!
And I’ll see you soon in another review!