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Saturday Matinee: The Virgin Suicides based on the book by Jeffrey Eugenides

“She held herself very straight, like Audrey Hepburn, whom all women idolize and men never think about.” ~ Jeffrey Eugenides



About the book

First published in 1993, The Virgin Suicides announced the arrival of a major new American novelist. In a quiet suburb of Detroit, the five Lisbon sisters—beautiful, eccentric, and obsessively watched by the neighborhood boys—commit suicide one by one over the course of a single year. As the boys observe them from afar, transfixed, they piece together the mystery of the family's fatal melancholy, in this hypnotic and unforgettable novel of adolescent love, disquiet, and death. Jeffrey Eugenides evokes the emotions of youth with haunting sensitivity and dark humor and creates a coming-of-age story unlike any of our time. Adapted into a critically acclaimed film by Sofia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides is a modern classic, a lyrical and timeless tale of sex and suicide that transforms and mythologizes suburban middle-American life.’’


I'm a boomer, not a millennial with their supposed triggers but perhaps I've never read this book or seen this movie because suicide is my trigger word. My own uncle hung himself in his home in England, my mother and brother had to fly to England to deal with everything he'd left behind. Like all suicides, it was tragic, heartbreaking. He was gay but came of age in England in a time when it was not only not accepted, it was illegal. The world changed but I don't think he ever made the transition in his own head, accepting himself. I also worked with a woman whose son hung himself in the shower. Her neighbor told me she heard a wild screaming and raced over to find him there, gone. I can't unsee that. Or the troubled boy that went to school with my son who either accidentally or deliberately drove himself off the road into oblivion. That's part of the reason why suicide is uncomfortable for me as a literary or cinematic conceit. With that in mind, I'm not sure I can read The Virgin Suicides or watch the film adapted from Jeffrey Eugenides book. 

But as it's Eugenides birthday today—the Pulitzer Prize-winning author turns 59—the film is today's Saturday Matinee. You can catch it on Prime, YouTube, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and Tubi (whatever that is!)

Directed by Sofia Coppola, The Virgin Suicides stars Kathleen Turner and James Woods as the girls' religious parents with Kirsten Dunst, AJ Cook, Hanna Hall (my son was in a short called White Picket Fences with Hall!) Josh Hartnett, Scott Glenn, and Danny Devito.

Here's the trailer


Have you read the book? Seen the movie?
Perhaps I'm being overly squeamish? Lay it on me, I'm all ears.

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