The Virgin Suicides* title pretty much says it all. There are virgins and they will commit suicide. Not only that, but the first few sentences remove any arc of suspense. I respect Jeffrey Eugenides’ boldness in his debut novel; he told readers what to expect from the get-go and then piqued our interest enough to keep reading.
The novel is told from the perspective of teenage boys. They describe the life (and death) of five sisters who live in their neighborhood, walk their school halls, and experiment with innocence or lack thereof. At first, I was like….okay, so why do we need a bunch of boys mansplaining girls to us? It’s the ladies’ lives, let them tell it! Except, from a creative perspective, I appreciate that Eugenides used distance to render the girls into mythical creatures, overly romanticized. They’re girls who the reader can’t quite grasp. They’re basically ghosts throughout.
The first Eugenides book I read was Middlesex, a Pulitzer Prize winner and a personal favorite (check out my review if you want a photo of an interesting retail product-- the “Anti-Masturbation Cross”). Then, I tried The Marriage Plot, which was absolute garbage and filled with the most boring characters one could possibly conjure. The Virgin Suicides, while not as impressive as the entertaining complexities of Middlesex, certainly read better than the plot which shall not be named.
You can also watch a young Kirsten Dunst crush it as a main character in the film adaptation. You're welcome! The Virgin Suicides receives 3 out of 5 camel humps.
*Eugenides, Jeffrey. The Virgin Suicides. New York: Warner Books, 1999. Print.