I bought this book after absolutely loving 'The Lovely Bones'. The opening page, which I read in the bookshop, had me gripped and I had high hopes for it: I couldn't wait to start it. Sadly, I have to say it is one of the most awful books I've ever encountered. It was difficult to read, not because of any flamboyant language, but because it was so 'lumpy', with no natural flow. I found it impossible to relate to any of the characters or the circumstances they found themselves in. I detest giving up on a book but had to really force myself to finish this. It was a chore, a nasty one at that, from page 2 until the end. For me, this book is more like a first-time attempt from a particularly inept author. I do wonder what Ms Sebold was trying to say with this book, what feelings she was experiencing to produce a novel such as this. Perhaps with this insight, I may have understood the story and its purpose a bit more. As it is, I just feel let down.