First Lines: The Virgin Suicides

Sophia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides is one of those movies I just can’t keep away from. Whenever it’s on television, I can’t help but watch. So when I came across a copy of the Jeffrey Eugenides novel it’s based on for a bargain price, I didn’t have to think long about picking it up.

As with Titanic, there’s no need to go over the plot. And this book isn’t about the Lisbon girls committing suicide, anyway. It’s rather about some boys who try but hopelessly fail to understand them (or women in general). Which brings me to this: while the movie is told from the perspective of teenage boys who idolize those mysterious girls next door, the book is told from those same boys’ perspective, but they’re at least twenty years older. Which makes it a bit creepy and weirdly obsessive. And not in a good way.

And I must say that I quite like Eugenides’s style. I mean, how can I resist long, meandering sentences like this next one?

It didn’t matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls, but only that we had loved them, and that they hadn’t heard us calling, still do not hear us, up here in the tree house, with our thinning hair and soft bellies, calling them out of those rooms where they went to be alone for all time, alone in suicide, which is deeper than death, and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together.

Book read
Jeffrey Eugenides — The Virgin Suicides
First Line
On the morning the last Lisbon daughter took her turn at suicide—it was Mary this time, and sleeping pills, like Therese—the two paramedics arrived at the house knowing exactly where the knife drawer was, and the gas oven, and the beam in the basement from which it was possible to tie a rope.