Monday, February 2, 2009

The Virgin Suicides - Jeffery Eugenides

the virgin suicides

c. 1993
256 pages
completed: 1/28/2009

read for: 1% challenge, 1001

*may contain spoilers*

This book was somewhat hard for me to read, and seems to be even harder for me to process my thoughts on it in order to review. I knew going into it that it probably would be as it's about a family of teen girls who all commit suicide, a subject that hits a little close to home. During my senior year of high school and the year after, my school went through three suicides (among other deaths), one of whom was a close friend of mine who lived up the street from me. So. A lot of memories surfaced while reading this book.

First, I just wanted to say that the girls in this book were just so sad. Their parents didn't know them. At all. And they kept them so sheltered and closed off that it's no wonder they were seen by the others in their town and school as peculiar. The girls said they just wanted to live. And no one would let them. Not their parents who shut them away in their house or the neighborhood boys who were obsessed with them.

I do think this was a very good look, not at the girls who commit suicide, but at those they left behind. The memories and impressions that an event like this makes on someone can't ever really go away. Mostly because it's something one can never fully understand. This is a different sort of grief. No there's no real way to understand the confusion and loss you personally feel, and it's even worse as an adult trying to help a youth understand that confusion and loss. One of the teachers or school principle in the story tried to compare the loss of Cecilia to when he lost a baseball game as a child. Not really the same. As a reader, you never really understand why the girls chose this way out. You can learn about their life and speculate, the same as the boys. But you never know for sure. Which is just like when this happens for real. You never really know why.


1 comment:

Lisalit said...

I agree--one of the things that I liked most about this book was how it illustrates that we can never really understand why someone commits suicide. Had it tried to give answers, I would have been turned off--because, like you, I've been through it, and there never are answers in real life.