Angela and I

Angela and I

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What I Read: The Virgin Suicides

"And it was then Cecilia gave orally what was to be her only form of suicide note, and a useless one at that, because she was going to live: 'Obviously, Doctor' she said, 'you've never been a thirteen year old girl.'"

Why I read it: I finally got around to reading The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides after loving the movie for years.  I will never forget the first time I watched the movie (warning...this story is REAL real). I was with my friends Robyn, Meaghan, and Alycia and I had just gotten back to campus from singing at a friend's funeral.  Yes, my friend from youth group had recently committed suicide and the family had asked me to sing.  Of course I said yes, and the whole experience was incredibly surreal.  I returned to school the same day, emotionally exhausted and in a strange haze.  I didn't even process the fact that this was the DVD we were popping in for movie night (you'd think the title alone would make my ears perk up). Needless to say, the moment Cecilia is successful and the camera cuts to her bird-boned body skewered on the fence post, a wave of nausea overtook me and I begged my friends to switch movies.  Thankfully, we did (for those curious, we decided to go with the CLASSIC..."Lestat".  Always a winner. Always a solid choice.). A few weeks later I borrowed the movie, got through it, and actually loved it because I am sick and twisted and adore things like this (also so what if I have a strange obsession with Kirsten Dunst?!)...AAAANYWAY. 

What I loved: There's a very specific strain of pop culture that just...SPEAKS TO ME for whatever reason and that is coming of age stories.  I can't and never will get enough of them. I mean we can reference the obvious here: Spring Awakening is my life, liberty, and my pursuit of happiness, thank you, good night. I have read How I live Now so many times that my copy is falling apart and I can quote entire pages. Even though I'm 23, I find myself binge watching Dance Academy on Netflix.  I could write a freaking dissertation on it but I think the reason I love these stories is that everyone goes through this period in their lives. It connects us as a species. Everyone knows what it is like to be a teenager/young adult struggling to find yourself in the midst of all the bullshit.  Everyone looks back on their teens/early twenties and thinks to themselves "wow, why did I make such a big deal out of that?!" But THAT'S THE THING...It is a big deal.  That's what I loved about this book and other coming of age stories that end tragically.  They are honest. They don't apologize for the fact that, yea when you're an adult, being overprotected and under-appreciated by your parents isn't the end of the world, but when you are a teenager, it can be a matter of life or death.  And that's OK!! As long as we're willing to realize it and make sure the future generations are given the opportunity to express themselves in healthy ways. 

There are definitely other things I loved (don't mind me going off on a rant about puberty. I'm a special kind of special): the fact that it was told from the neighborhood boys' point of view, their growing obsession and fascination with the girls, and the beautiful imagery throughout. 

Why you should read it:
-If you are a human who is passed the threshold of puberty: If this applies to you, CONGRATULATIONS, you had a triumphant teenage experience.  Sure, you were probably harassed by a bully, embarrassed by your peers, and pressured by your parents...but you lived, didn't you?  And that is a TRIUMPH.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.  Oh, and then read this book so you know what it's like when people don't get through it alive.  
-If you, like me, love slightly twisted things that make your skin crawl: The descriptions in this novel are so honest that you have to wonder if something exactly like this didn't happen to Eugenides himself. 
-If you are a parent: It's a good case study in what not to do. 

Keep reading, pretty people! <33 

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