Chapter V


At the beginning of chapter 5, the Lisbon girls have just killed themselves on the day of Cecilia’s first suicide attempt. The EMS truck arrives, whose drivers the boys can describe in detail without actually seeing them by then; both of them seem to be afraid to be mocked by the neighbourhood while they keep removing the girls’ corpses. Only Mary survives her attempt (she tried to suffocate herself in the gas oven) and is taken into hospital.

A coroner is told to make an autopsy on the girls while doctors state that there is too little serotonin in Mary’s blood which is considered as the reason for suicides at that time. It is restored back to a normal level and Mary is released from hospital.

In the following days and weeks, ‘the media descend […] on [the] street’ (p. 218) and kind of besiege the Lisbons. The topic of the suicides dominates the newspapers and TV programmes while the Lisbons themselves give up trying to live a normal life. Mrs. Lisbon stops attending church and Mr. Lisbon tells his real-estate agent to put the house back on the market. His colleague, the English teacher Mr. Hedlie, starts to improve the house for Mr. Lisbon so that it will fetch a better price and most of the interior is thrown away.

Nevertheless, Mary seems to resume life by taking up singing lesson again. But on the morning after Alice O’Connors coming-out party, which is attended by the boys, the EMS truck has to come to the Lisbon house one last time. Mary has killed herself by eating sleeping pills like Therese, dressed in black and veiled. On that morning the boys gather in front of the Lisbon house a last time to bid Mary an ultimate goodbye.

p. 232 – 243

After Mary’s suicide the cemetery workers’ strike is settled. After the funeral Mr and Mrs Lisbon return to their house for the last time. In the middle of the night the Lisbons leave the house finally and since never have come back.
On the next day the young couple comes to the house and renovates it. “Not only the Lisbon house changed, but the street itself” (p. 237). The FBI arrives and arrests Shark Baldino because he has burgled houses. The Baldinos move away and other families in the street follow. After a while people have more and more forgotten about the suicides of the Lisbons as if they had never happened.

At the end there remain a lot of questions which have not been answered yet. Even as adults the boys of the neighbourhood cannot forget the Lisbon family and their daughters.


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