Mar 03

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

by Alice Sebold

(3.5/5)

Fiction
First Published in 2002
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
International Bestseller

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Book Synopsis:

Pennsylvania, 1973, fourteen year old Susie Salmon is brutally raped then killed. Susie tells her story as she watches her family from heaven. Susie’s killer was her neighbor, and still lives next door. Susie’s family is desperately trying to cope with their loss. But with no body found and her killer still on the loose, they cannot rest. They become isolated from each other, each member dealing with their grief in their own way.

As the years pass, Susie’s siblings and friends grow up, fall in love and experience things that Susie never got to experience herself. However, Susie is not quite finished with life yet…

My Book Review:

It’s taken me a while to add another book review because I started and gave up on 3 different books. I lost interest in 2 of them halfway through – which is extremely frustrating, having devoted so much time to reading them, then getting bored. The Lovely Bones was what I needed to get me back on track: being absorbed in a good story.

I loved the progression of this novel. It began with this creepy and disturbing event that made tingle and slightly freaked out. Then it became a story of observation and longing, about understandable human reactions. Susie’s family’s grief and search for her killer come to the fore. But then the story becomes about their lives in the years after her murder, seen through Susie’s eyes up in heaven as she follows them, she herself unable to let go of the people she loved and the woman she would never grow up to be.

This is not a typical, predictable story. I say this not to make you think that there will be major unexpected twists but to try and describe the subtlety and flow that Sebold infuses into the direction of her novel. It’s not a typical thriller about catching the killer. We definitely want to catch Susie’s killer – but do we always get what we want?

Thinking back on the feeling I got from this story, what I experienced was a fully formed impression of this family. Despite the loss and grief, we see healing and joy. I grew to appreciate the characters of the feisty alcoholic grandmother, the sensitive son and a mother who just cant seem to be.

It was only towards the very end that I lost my grasp on my suspension of disbelief for a while. And only for a while – until I accepted it and allowed myself as a reader to follow the path that was set (I am being cryptic so as not to spoil the story for you).

What is really interesting about this book is its take on ‘heaven’. Sebold’s heaven in this novel is different for everyone in it. Each person creates their own heaven. Susie was fourteen when she died, so her heaven included school buildings, a gazebo and playful dogs. But she was still lonely, inextricably connected to her life on earth, constantly watching. Susie would only be able to enter a freer, wider heaven when she let go of her own past and allowed her family to let go of her.

It’s strange that this novel is written from the perspective of a dead girl because the next novel which I am about to read is also from this perspective: Heaven Can Wait by Cally Tayor. It came highly recommended by chick lit clubs (10/10!), so I’m looking forward to reading it!

x Julie

Book Reviews

Reading Like Rabbits

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8
comments

8 comments!!!

  1. juliewee says:

    What a coincidence. Someone just bought The Lovely Bones through readinglikerabbits.com just before I put this review up! To whoever bought it: We’re on the same wavelength! enjoy!
    x Julie

  2. Natasha says:

    I loved this book!

  3. Nelson says:

    best book i’ve read in a while…couldn’t put it down!

  4. Renu says:

    I loved this book!! Can’t wait for the movie x

  5. Michael Lim says:

    I’m waiting for the movie. Is it ever coming to Singapore?

  6. Candice De Rozario says:

    I looked at this book in Borders tonight! Sounds wonderful.

  7. Eleanor Tan says:

    Yup read it in two sittings; couldn’t put it down. Looking forward to the movie too.

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