Has anyone out there read Jeffrey Eugenides's novel The Virgin Suicides? If so, did you like it?
If so, why?
I read it yesterday and I'll admit that's about my only reaction. What was the point of this book? Why would anyone enjoy it? There must be all sorts of things I'm missing here, because it was well received critically, was a big bestseller, and was also made into a movie. Maybe because the basic outline of the story was rather titillating? All five daughters of the Lisbon family eventually commit suicide,* one by throwing herself out an upstairs window onto a fence, the other four a year later, by various means. The story is told in flashback, I'm assuming by one of the neighborhood boys, who watched the family of all girls, fascinated.
Etc., etc., for 250 pages. I'll admit it: I just don't get it. To me it read like a very male, very adolescent fantasy of how crazy women get when they're locked away from boys (the Lisbon parents are strict about dating), which is a theme I find annoying, to say the least. Oh--except that hypothesis doesn't work for one of the daughters, Lux, who finds plenty of male companionship, eventually resorting to having sex on the roof of her house with numerous suitors.
I kid you not. On the roof. I'd have to see the house in question but it's difficult to picture that, logistically.
So I MUST be missing something. Right? What is it I'm missing? Please tell me so I can understand.
*Evidently it's based loosely on an actual event. Hm. Maybe I can track down some nonfiction on the story instead. ADDENDUM: Here's what I learned in the Literature Resource Center database, available thanks to my local public library: "The author got the idea for The Virgin Suicides while visiting his brother's house in Michigan and chatting with the baby sitter. The young woman said that she and her sisters had all attempted suicide at one point. When Eugenides asked why, she replied simply, "pressure." The theme of inexplicable adolescent trauma amid a placid suburban landscape gave birth to the plot of the novel."