May Book of the Month: The Virgin Suicides
Very few books are as important to The Opal Club in terms of our values and our history as The Virgin Suicides. If you don’t know how The Opal Club came about, let us give you a quick summary: when Daphna was in her last semester of college, she wrote her favorite thesis paper: Sexuality vs Sexualization of Pubescent Women in Literary History, citing The Virgin Suicides, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and Lolita, among others. The stories were important because they were about young women’s most vulnerable ages and experiences - yet written by male authors. The stories are well told, with nuance and a close understanding of what it’s like to be a young girl, and yet, Dolores, Tess, Lux - they were all trapped under a patina of the male gaze. Their stories were not their own. How many Dollys and Tesses and Luxes are out there, wanting to tell their stories, the way they know they happened? That was how The Opal Club was born. To be that opalescent space where every single girl and woman could share their stories. That’s what makes our community so opalescent - every single unique story catching and reflecting light.
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides is about the Lisbon sisters, their stories told by their old neighbors, middle class suburban boys twenty years after the events of that year. With no first-hand knowledge of girls and their problems, they still find themselves longing and lusting after the sisters without ever being able to see them as real people and only as a portion of their own coming-of-age stories.
The book is brilliant, multi-faceted, and reveals more layers upon every rereading.
For an absolutely full experience, we suggest following up the reading with watching Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides, which is a beautiful and genius companion to the book - showing more of the girls, from the girls’ point of view. We cannot recommend it enough. Happy Reading!