Hello again Everyone!
I’ve started reading the novel The Virgin Suicides and I thought I would update you all on my progress. I decided to read this particular book for a number of reasons, all of which will come out as you read this post.
First of all, I need to say that I absolutely adore Jeffrey Eugenides! He is one of my favourite authors and I really think he’s one of the most talented contemporary writers. I originally encountered his work when we were asked to read the first page of his novel Middlesex in my first year Narrative class in university. I was immediately hooked and intrigued, quite literally from the first line of the novel, and I went on to complete it during the following summer break. I was so blown away by the narrative and by the vast scope of Eugenides’ storytelling ability, and I’ve since placed Middlesex and its unique narrator in the ranks of my favourite literary finds of all time. When I found out that Middlesex won the Pulitzer Prize, I wasn’t surprised at all – but I was a bit disheartened. I always had this lofty (probably insane and unrealistic) dream that I would one day win the Pulitzer Prize, but after reading Middlesex I found myself seriously doubting whether or not I would ever be able to pen a story of that magnitude, force and influence. I probably won’t ever be able to, but I’ve been so inspired by Eugenides’ work since then (and I’ve so longed to get to Princeton and study creative writing under him). His third novel, The Marriage Plot, was equally amazing, in my opinion…and it paid homage to a number of my favourite literary classics, so obviously I was really quite pleased with it.
But, I must admit that I had A LOT of trouble getting into Eugenides’ breakout novel, The Virgin Suicides. I remember seeing the movie many years ago (most likely when I was too young to fully appreciate it) and finding it totally boring (Sidenote: I’m not really a fan of Sofia Coppola’s work, so this is unsurprising.), but I knew that I had to give the novel a chance once I found out that Eugenides was its author. Lucky for me, my brother is studying the novel for one of his English classes, and so he asked me to read it after he finished. I’m more than happy to read anything he wants me to read (and actually, in a shocking role reversal, he’s reading Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall without me asking him to right now, for the same class!) and discuss it at length but…I have to say, I almost gave up on The Virgin Suicides. The first 50 or so pages did not grab me whatsoever, and I was actually a little disappointed in Eugenides. I thought this story lacked the passion of Middlesex and the creativity of The Marriage Plot – although I will say that Eugenides’ use of a plural narrator is fascinating and very well done.
Anyway, I wanted to give up on the novel, even though I never ever stop reading books until I’ve finished them, even if I absolutely HATE them. (Sidenote: The fact that I managed to read Spenser’s The Faerie Queene in its entirety is testament to this fact. So unbelievably dull!) It took me almost a week to get through the first 50 pages and I was about to throw in the towel when my brother mentioned his final essay topic for the course: sainthood and its representation in The Virgin Suicides. All of a sudden, I had a purpose; my reading had a direction. I needed to help refresh my brother’s memory by finding examples of sainthood in the novel…by reminding him of the intricacies of the story and the writing style. Now this, I could do!
Now, I’ve gone from page 50 to page 140 in less than a day. I admit, it’s kind of lame that a form of studying has encouraged me to read faster and with greater enthusiasm, but I’m an academic at heart (way deep down in that green abyss), and so this should come as no surprise. It was a slow start, but I’m off and I’m barreling through The Virgin Suicides now!
A more detailed review is to come!
Girl with a Green Heart