Virgin Suicides
Kirsten Dunst
Directed By :
Sophia Coppola

I am not going to wait until the end of my review to sum up my feelings on this book: READ IT!!! The main thing that spurred my writing about this novel as the release of the movie in 2000, which was the directorial debut of Sophia Coppola. (And, yes, I followed the unwritten rule of reading the book before seeing the movie!) She truly inherited her vision from her father, good 'ole Francis Ford. Oh, wait. Before I got into how Sophia interpreted what was written in this book, perhaps I should tell you what it is about!

The Virgin Suicides takes place in the American 1970's among an upper-class suburb. The focus is on the good, Catholic Lisbon family. There is mom and pop Lisbon, who are incredibly annoying and pitiful, and the less time you spend thinking on them the better, and their five beautiful daughters: Bonnie, Cecilia, Lux, Mary and Therese. The Lisbon household is extremely strict, so the five sisters, walking together into school, or doing summertime things in the warm front yard causes neighborhood boys to view the girls in a hazy, untouchable mystery. Though there are breaks in the Lisbon sister's unwanted solitude, going with those same neighborhood boys to the homecoming dance, or attending a doomed party, a mystery the girls will pretty much stay.

I don't want to get too into the text itself, but more into what the story represents. To me, anyway.

Pretty much, each Lisbon sister stands for parts of America's innocence, and how much our society quickly lost such things as our discipline, our responsibility, our promises, our faith. How we have ushered in a more, well, loosely moraled existence. Let's go one step further: Sounds like our society's relationship with God.

Now, to Sophia and her direction. I absolutely loved the fact that she showed the Lisbon girls as magical, beautiful and ethereal without crazy camera angles and special effects (especially Lux, played by Kirsten Dunst.) She stayed with what they were: girls in adolescence. Who needs sparkly, special effects for that? The story speaks directly to you, and their isn't anything to jumble it. In the end, the story is presented smooth, but with a definite but needed sense of foreboding. You actually remember what it was like to be a young girl, and how your mind raced when you were forced to hold in your passions and happiness at times when it wasn't "right" or "appropriate". And, perhaps, what it was like to be an adolescent boy, having to watch the girls around you grow and become full of life and beauty with very little to no understanding about what was going on. You just knew you liked it.

OK, call, this a book review, or a movie review. Just call this story brilliant.

I hated high school, but this story makes even me want to go through my yearbooks.

--- Teresa Clare

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