Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jeffrey Eugenides Live at B&N

If you know anything about me, you know that I hate being read to.

But this clip of Jeffrey Eugenides reading from his novel The Virgin Suicides, one of my favorite books, is a must-see, must-listen. He even sings.



Why do I love this book so much, so much that I'm willing to have it read to me? Maybe I always identified with those Lisbon girls who were locked in their house, and lepers at school. No, my parents never burned or threw out my LPs. But I too could express my feelings only through song, not yet having developed a vocabulary for the hell I too was going through at home, at school, everywhere.

The idea of a young schoolgirl being suicidal sounds too absurd, but when I was about eight years old, I understood that I wanted to die. In a fit of crying rage in the basement one day, I actually was able to tell my mother that I wanted to die. And she didn't believe me. After that, it didn't seem worth doing anything about it, because it seemed like no one would care if I did.

It was the first but not the last time I thought about dying. Thoughts of death have been so present in my life that I'm not afraid of it. But - much to the relief of my friends and therapist - many times along my strange and winding life, I've been glad I'm still alive. And baffled as to how I actually survived, feeling the way I did at such a young, visceral, unreasonable and inconsolable age.

The movie, although very good, doesn't do The Virgin Suicides justice. Go read the book.