When the better half took me book shopping on my birthday I picked up a copy of The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. The novel is on my 1001 list and I really enjoyed his book, Middlesex. I started reading it the night I got it and I’ll be honest, I was completely surprised by it. Some of you may think I’m an idiot. The title says it all, it’s about suicide. What I didn’t know was that the story is told from the viewpoint of the boys who knew the five Lisbon sisters who kill themselves. I thought it would be narrated by the sisters. Instead, the boys, twenty years later start to piece together their memories and evidence to recall the sisters that they fell in love with during their youth.
The five sisters grew up in a suburb of Detroit. They were quirky and beautiful. And the boys in the neighborhood watched them all the time. In one year, they all commit suicide. As the boys recount the tragedies the reader gets to peek into the weirdness of the Lisbon family. As the rest of the families lived their lives in this quiet suburb, the Lisbon family fell further and further into a funk.
This is not like any other coming-of-age novel that I’ve read. Eugenides is a brilliant writer. He mixes sensitivity and dark humor. As I read this novel, I felt like I was watching an episode of 48 Hours Mystery. I love that show. The author doesn’t let you inside the Lisbon home completely, but gives enough glimpses via the boys memories to keep the reader wanting more. This is Eugenides debut novel and he knocked it out of the park.
I haven’t watched the film adaptation by Sofia Coppola. Does anyone suggest it?
This is the 76th novel that I’ve completed from the 1001 list.