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Customer Review

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but don't get crazy expectations, 30 Oct. 2009
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Paperback)
In The Lovely Bones, Sebold tells the story of an adolescent girl, Susie Salmon who is raped and murdered, and then ascends to heaven. The story is told from the perspective of Susie, who is able to observe people on earth, and it spans several years after Susie's death.

Susie details her parents' relationship after her death - her father's obsession with finding her murderer, and her mother trying simply to 'get on with life'. Susie shows too the development of her sister, Lindsey, from an awkwardly gifted, yet beautiful younger sister to someone reconciled with her sisters death. She charts the growth of her brother, Buckley, from someone confused by the sudden disappearance of a sister who had always been there, to someone who knows and understands. She describes the path taken by the boy she liked in school, Ray Singh, as he moves on from being the intelligent and considerate outsider. Susie portrays too the life of her friend, Ruth, a school misfit convinced that ghosts exist, that she is watched, and uncertain whether she is attracted to men or women.

Though one of the main ideas behind the novel, that Susie's murderer continues to live down the road from her parents, could detract from the novel, it doesn't because the novel is not, ultimately, a detective novel or a whodunnit of any sort. Rather, you should take this novel as an interesting confessional or detail-oriented and compassionate portrait of family life after death.

There are several intriguing facets to The Lovely Bones seen mainly in Susie's contemplations and actions: from trying to cross over from heaven to earth and touching those who live on earth in an urge to manipulate what occurs on earth, to lamenting what she has missed because she was killed while remonstrating herself for those things she did not do while alive, to accepting where she is and releasing her attachment to those on earth. Sebold achieves a fairly innovative novel, which I found enjoyable to read. It won't change your world, but you'll gain a sense of a family's suffering after death and how that family strives for resolution, written in a way that feels compassionate and new. Don't be deceived into thinking it's the novel of the century as some reviews would have you believe, but rather that it's fairly slow-moving, thorough and enjoyable if you don't have crazy expectations.
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Location: Northampton, MA, USA

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