Keeping in sync with my reading mission, The Virgin Suicides can officially be crossed off my wish list. It came as no surprise that I was able to devour this book in a matter of 4 days, I expected nothing from from a Eugenides novel. My previous experience of his work was similar, when I managed to read Middlesex in about 2 days – probably one of the few unputdownable texts I have come across.
The feeling of accomplishment when you finish a novel is unrivaled with any other feeling, however when I closed The Virgin Suicides, I felt something different – as if it was incomplete. To successfully culminate the ending, you need to take a few moments and think about the context, content and purpose. Despite being an easy read, The Virgin Suicides – as indicated by the name – is quite a dark novel that traces the lives of 5 suicidal sisters. The narrative is interestingly neither of the sisters or family members, but an on looker who observed the girls at school and from a tree house across the street.
The short life of the Lisbon girls, dubbed by the neighborhood, remains a mystery throughout the text and this is the primary reason for the uncertainty and unfinished feeling at the end of the novel. The more I say about the text and its depth, the less it seems because each time I think about its content, I find an overlooked fact or a hidden meaning. Eugenides writes the prose in a clever yet witty manner, portraying the narrator’s confusion as well as curiosity regarding the main characters. The dark humor is most obvious at the first suicide of the youngest sister, who jumps out of the window to find her death after she exits a party that was thrown in her honor. The detailed description of her lifeless corpse is almost circus-like as all the party attendees watch her being untangled and taken away.
The majority of the text focuses around the first suicide, going over the reasons for it, the aftermath and eventually the consequences the pivotal jump. The remaining 4 sisters – Bonnie, Lux, Mary and Therese – are left mourning for their loss, however the reader is left wondering how deep the wound of the suicide is and what emotions the sisters felt. The lack of detail with regards to each character ensures that the reader feels detached to the suicides and reads them like reading an itinerary.
Ultimately The Virgin Suicides provides a snapshot of repressed teenagers gone wrong. The foreshadowing deaths of all girls is continually states throughout the text, even when the girls are alive – reminding readers how the text will end. My sense of achievement in completing this text was a bit delayed, the Lisbon girls took up a temporary residence in my mind as I tried to understand their suffering. All in all, I would definitely recommend this text as it is beautifully written and captures the lives of 5 lost and misunderstood teenage girls.