The Virgin Suicides
is a novel by Jeffrey Eugenides
about the death of suburbia in the 1970s. The story is told from the point of view of a group of teenage boys who are fixated on the beautiful, sheltered, and enigmatic Lisbon girls: Bonnie, Mary, Lux, Therese and Cecilia. Armed with stolen diaries, photos, an intimate knowledge of the girls' incoming mail, and a telescope, the boys seek to solve the mystery of the girls' existence. The entire book is about the boys trying to find out the motives of the girls and the reason why they come to such an untimely end.
The novel was adapted into a film by Sofia Coppola
as her feature-length debut, and the first time she worked with Kirsten Dunst
- Adaptation Distillation: Despite setting Lux as the main character, Sofia Coppola's 1999 version is very loyal to the novel.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Trip Fontaine, designated pot-smoking Mr. Fanservice.
- Bath Suicide: Subverted. Cecilia attempts this, but survives.
- The Charmer: Trip Fontaine has shades of this. He is generally quite gentlemanly about his conquests.
- Childhood Memory Demolition Team: The trees in the neighborhood are being cut down because of a spreading disease. The Lisbon girls try to prevent the tree in their front yard from being cut down because of how much it meant to Cecilia.
- Creepy Child: Slightly averted with Cecilia.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Averted, judging by the way the remaining Lisbon sisters are said to have winked when passing Cecilia's open casket.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Lux is almost perpetually barefoot. She later abuses this fact to play Footsie Under the Table, and to try to tantalize Trip, whose eyes remain glued to her foot.
- Driven to Suicide: The motives of the girls are never truly disclosed. Only with Cecilia do we get anything close to insight.
Doctor: What are you doing here, honey? You're not even old enough to know how bad life gets.
Cecilia: Obviously, Doctor, you've never been a 13-year-old girl.
- Evil Matriarch: Mrs. Lisbon. Oh God Mrs. Lisbon...
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The novel is about virgins who commit suicide. Subverted, probably intentionally, because Lux does not die a virgin.
- Female Gaze: While much of the film is about the boys trying to sort out the mystery of the girls' deaths, one strong example is Trip's "babe walk" down the hall at school, to Heart's "Magic Man."
- Foregone Conclusion: Look at the title.
- Girl Next Door: The Lisbon girls, though they are of a particularly hard-to-approach variety.
- Greek Chorus: The boys are often described as this, though author Eugenides himself disagrees somewhat and believes the trope only gets attributed to them because of his (Greek) last name.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: All five of the Lisbon girls
- Handsome Lech: Trip Fontaine
- The Hero Dies: By the end of the film, all of the Lisbon sisters committed suicide.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Cecilia. She does it herself.
- In Medias Res: The story begins with the paramedics taking away Mary's dead body
- Ivy League : One of the boys mentions applying to Yale, because his father went there, despite living in Michigan.
- Kill 'em All: The fate of the Lisbon sisters who all committed suicide.
- Lady Killer In Love: Trip develops a intense and passionate crush on the elusive Lux, having previously never had more than a passing interest in any girl. However, after they have sex on the football field he "just gets sick of her right then and there", leaves, and the two of them have no further contact.
- Loving a Shadow: For all their supposed love toward the Lisbon girls, it turns out that ultimately the boys know very little about who they really were as people.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Lux Lisbon has a succession of encounters on the roof of her house.
- Mama Bear: Mrs. Lisbon. Dear god Mrs. Lisbon.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: The Lisbon sisters represent a more subdued type to the narrators.
- Proud to Be a Geek: Mr. Lisbon, at least in the movie. Want to see his model airplanes?
- Riddle for the Ages: Why did the girls commit suicide?
- Stalking Is Love: The narrators' infatuation with the Lisbon girls.
- Standard '50s Father: Subverted with the weak and ineffectual Mr. Lisbon. Any attempt he makes in being this is to no use as his family crumbles around him.
- Starts with a Suicide: Opens with Cecilia's first suicide attempt. Her second, successful one is what really sets the story in motion.
- Unreliable Narrator
- Virgin Power: The possible reason why the girls are so fascinating. Well, except that one...
- Women's Mysteries