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The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

(30 Posts)
WhatInTheWorld76 Sun 21-May-17 09:12:16

sad I've just finished reading this and have found it quite haunting and perplexing. Has anyone read this? Did anyone understand why?

Can anyone share any insight they may have. I'm well aware that as the title suggested certain tragedies would occur but I'm still reeling as I think I missed clues as to why. Anyone read this or remember reading it who can enlighten me? It's left me feeling rather odd. I feel like I've missed a key message.
TIA.

lessthanBeau Sun 21-May-17 09:17:03

I read this years ago, like you l feel l totally missed something along the way. There just seems to be no reason behind it at all.

WhatInTheWorld76 Sun 21-May-17 10:48:10

My only other thought was that he was trying to make the point that only the individual can truly understand why? That the decision is entirely personal. But then i also felt that since the first chapter a "plague" of sorts hit the girls and that's why they did it? I couldn't find any info to confirm or deny other motives. So my only conclusion was that it was inevitable from the beginning? But that doesn't explain why? Arrrrggghhh.

anon1987 Sun 21-May-17 10:58:45

I've never read the book, but I have watched the film.
I have to admit it doesn't exactly explain why they kill themselves either 🤔

I really like it - have read it a couple of times, and have just bought it cheap on Kindle for a re-read.

I don;t think it matters what the 'point' was. It's supposed to feel as if there wasn't really any reason and that the suicides become contagious whilst not being particularly explainable.

WhatInTheWorld76 Sun 21-May-17 15:19:54

I got the feeling that I'd missed clues which related to their background and relationships which weren't explicit through the narrator due to obvious reasons

WhatInTheWorld76 Sun 21-May-17 15:22:23

To be clear, I was not suggesting that there was no "point" to the story at all - I was wondering if I'd missed something. HTH Remus

No, I know you weren't. You didn't miss anything. The point is that it's all supposed to feel rather pointless and unexplained.

No, I know you weren't. You didn't miss anything. The point is that it's all supposed to feel rather pointless and unexplained.

IrenetheQuaint Sun 21-May-17 20:37:37

Creepy book about the male gaze IMO.

Merhaba Sun 21-May-17 20:43:59

It's years since I read it - might get it out now that you have mentioned it, as I don't have anything else on the go. Thank you OP smile

WhatInTheWorld76 Sun 21-May-17 21:11:09

Hahaha! You're welcome Merhaba! Please feel free to give me your views if you do. I must say that although its all inevitable there are beautiful, poetic parts and genuine funny points which depict teenage angst and longing perfectly. So I never gave up or wanted to give up reading it - I guess I'm a) a sucker for a happy ending and b) overthinking it. Just goes to show it was worth reading because I'd almost categorize it as a book like Lolita. I may not agree with it all and find it damn uncomfortable but I'll never forget that I've read it!

Merhaba Sun 21-May-17 21:18:29

Yes, I can still picture myself reading it for the first tim when it was newly published. I've read it at least once since then as well. It will be interesting to see if it has stood the test of time smile

ReluctantlyRedundant101 Tue 23-May-17 20:25:05

I read this recently & loved it. I'm not sure you were meant to understand why they did it although you did get the feeling there was something underlying. Like the OP I just kept reading though I wasn't sure why (and I do give up easily!) I love books/ films that start at the end too

WhatInTheWorld76 Tue 23-May-17 21:56:56

I couldn't stop reading it. Although sadly I was searching for answers I never found.

ReluctantlyRedundant101 Wed 24-May-17 08:00:25

That's exactly how I felt What - interesting that we both kept reading though

Yellowaardvark Wed 24-May-17 11:03:35

I read it years ago and loved it, but wonder if I'd find it harder going and more perplexing now I am more aware of youth suicide.

It was the 5th girl who was treated as dead when she wasn't yet that I didn't understand.

Maybe the point of the book was that you can be completely and utterly consumed by someone and obsessed with them, but still have no idea what is going on in their head?

WhatInTheWorld76 Wed 24-May-17 11:25:58

Yes... The point that you can watch someone all you like but you only ever know what you view, not their motivation behind it or them as an individual.

I'm reading I'm The King of the Castle now which is also dark. I do pick them!!

byronicheroine Sun 28-May-17 22:42:20

I agree, it is from one point of view so you just get the boys' idea of what happened. I think the girls were so restricted and constrained that they looked for an outlet or something - anything - to happen. They got caught up in their own storytelling.
He is a great writer although all his books are so different. Middlesex is better if you haven't read that yet

WhatInTheWorld76 Mon 29-May-17 00:04:55

No I haven't read Middlesex but I'll give it a try!

RJnomore1 Mon 29-May-17 00:06:33

It's been a while since I read it but I thought it was a sense of powerlessness on their part.

LoisWilkersonsLastNerve Mon 29-May-17 00:18:06

I read it years ago, my take on it was that the girls felt dead anyway, being trapped at home and had a pact. Very disturbing really.

RJnomore1 Mon 29-May-17 00:26:36

Yes Lois thats the way I had read it. It rung s bell for me as to how I felt as a teenager.

LoisWilkersonsLastNerve Tue 30-May-17 00:18:57

Yes, I found it so upsetting. I felt the film, beautifully made as it was, almost made light of it, glamourised suicide even.

venusinscorpio Tue 30-May-17 00:37:12

Yes I read it over the course of a long bus trip while travelling. It is an unsettling book.

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