I Lied

Remember when I said that it would be quiet around here while I focused my reading energies on Les Miserables? I had forgotten about a cache of posts that I had already written, just waiting to actually be posted.

So yeah. This is awkward.

On the bright side, here’s a post I wrote about The Virgin Suicides.

Very rarely do I watch a movie version before I’ve read the book. Sometimes exceptions are made. Rarely are they intentional.

That’s what happened with The Virgin Suicides. I was high on my personal discovery of the genius of Jeffrey Eugenides and over the top excited about our new subscription to Netflix (which I continue to abuse, even though the Canadian version is notoriously “less than”) so I watched The Virgin Suicides before I read the book.

I know.

I will never know if my reading experience would have been better had I not seen the movie. I tend to think that, given the title, I might have had some inkling as to what was going to unfold had I not witnessed Kirsten Dunst and company offing themselves in the movie.

Sorry. Did I give too much away?

When I was 12 or 13 my best friend at the time was obsessed with The Virgin Suicides. She wasn’t off balance or weird or anything, but something about that movie spoke to her. I led a much more sheltered life and had no idea what she was talking about but the word ‘virgin’ made me uncomfortable.

Maybe this is the kind of book that you need to be young to relate to? A family of 4 beautiful sisters, with a couple of very overprotective parents, are watched by the neighbourhood boys in the year following the 5th (and youngest) sister’s suicide.

I did like the movie. It was depressing and uncomfortable but also beautifully filmed and I think really did capture the feeling of the novel.

So what was my issue with the book?

I don’t know.

I just know that I didn’t have any strong feelings towards it. It is undoubtedly well written (Eugenides is incredibly talented) but something about it felt off. I can see that it was well suited to being turned into a movie – the way it’s written lends itself to a screen play easily. But as a novel, it didn’t do it for me.

The girls – Therese, Mary, Bonnie and Lux – made me sad. Cecilia probably most of all. In the beginning when she says something like “clearly you’ve never been a 13 year old girl” made me kind of smile (in a heartbroken kind of way) because being a 13 year old girl does suck. But I don’t think that I ever thought that at the time. At the time I thought I was hot sh*t. And if you saw me at 13, this would be hysterical.

The Virgin Suicides made me uncomfortable. All the wrist slicing…I can’t even really talk about it. It’s one of those things that makes me physically ill to think about. I think the one thing that I got out of it was that if you protect your kids so much that you suffocate them, they may take matters into their own hands.

And that teenage boys can be kind of obsessive.

I’m not sure that either of these were the point…

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