Monday, 3 February 2014

Once Upon a Time...

2014 Blogger Challenge - post 3

Third topic set by Gaby for this fabulous blogging challenge is to write about a book. Any book. If you're a regular reader (lol, do I have any of those?) you'll know I love to write about books - be it reviews or recommendations or what essentially may be a post full of plot spoilers - but it's something I'd be doing even without being "challenged" to it. I'm pretty happy this has come up!

I finally got round to reading The Virgin Suicides a couple of weeks ago and, oh my, I loved it. Be warned now, this will be a review post with a recommendation to read it, accompanied by plot spoilers so if you don't want me to ruin your beautiful experience with this book, look away now. I first heard about this book on Rosie's blog (Rosie no longer posts and I miss her a lot!) and thought it sounded like something I should read. It's also, much like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, turned into a bit of a cult novel so if you're going read about it on forums or anything, you've probably just entered Hipster Central (just a friendly warning).

The story begins in Michigan in the 1970s and centres around five sisters, the Lisbon girls, named Therese, Mary, Bonnie, Lux, and Cecilia. They're all in their teens - 17, 16, 15, 14 and 13, respectively - so for starters, I felt I could relate to them, age-wise at least. I felt sometimes that the girls were presented as much older than their age, such as with how they (spoiler) dealt with Cecilia's death in the beginning of the novel. At other times however, I felt they acted much more like young children, as opposed to teenage girls. I felt like this aspect of their characterisation was pretty inconsistent, although this could be due to the narrators. Actually, the narration is a really interesting element of the novel and I feel it deserves its own paragraph.

I finished this book about three weeks ago and I've got through a couple of other books since, so I'm starting to forget the finer details. I almost forgot that the story isn't narrated by the girls themselves, nor is it told in third person. It's told by a group of grown men always using the pronouns "we" and "us" instead of "I" and "me". The men grew up with the girls, living across the street from them, and going to the same school as them. Yet they've watched the Lisbon sisters so closely and collated so many rumours, so much information, conducted so many interviews, that they paint an incredibly vivid picture of the girls' lives. At some points, the novel appears to be similar to a scientific investigation about the girls. That kind of made me feel a bit uncomfortable, almost like I was scrutinising them in a detached manner, rather than feeling who they were as people.

But the plot, wow, it was incredible. I know I've already given away one huge spoiler but hey, it's called the Virgin Suicides for a reason (note the plural). You're thrown into the story right at the deep end. I feel like this "review" is incredibly disjointed and I'm leaving so many points I've made here unfinished. This is because I started drafting this post about two or three weeks ago, coming back to it maybe five times and attempting to finish it. I can't. I can't do the book justice. But I do know it's something that's going to stick with me for a while, even if I don't re-read it right away.

I will say one thing though - pay attention to Therese, Mary and Bonnie. I didn't and I feel like I've missed out a huge part of the novel because of that. Whatever information there is about them, take hold of it and remember it because, to me, those three girls merge into one. Definitely do read this fabulous novel though, and if you have, let me know what you thought of it.


1 comment:

  1. this was the very first book i bought in english when i was 13 or 14 and i tried a couple of times to read it but i just couldnt handle the different language. should i give it another try?? i think so!! thx for the review!!