The Lovely Bones Paperback – 6 Jun 2003
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On her way home from school on a snowy December day, 14-year-old Susie Salmon is lured into a cornfield and brutally raped and murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold's haunting and heartbreaking debut novel, unfolds from heaven, where "life is a perpetual yesterday" and where Susie narrates and keeps watch over her grieving family and friends, as well as her brazen killer and the sad detective working on her case.
As Sebold fashions it, everyone has his or her own version of heaven. Susie's resembles the athletic fields and landscape of a suburban high school: a heaven of her "simplest dreams", where "there were no teachers... We never had to go inside except for art class... The boys did not pinch our backsides or tell us we smelled; our textbooks were Seventeen and Glamour and Vogue".
The Lovely Bones works as an odd yet affecting coming-of-age story. Susie struggles to accept her death while still clinging to the lost world of the living, following her family's dramas over the years. Her family disintegrates in their grief: her father becomes determined to find her killer, her mother withdraws, her little brother Buckley attempts to make sense of the new hole in his family and her younger sister Lindsey moves through the milestone events of her teenage and young adult years with Susie riding spiritual shotgun. Random acts and missed opportunities run throughout the book--Susie recalls her sole kiss with a boy on earth as "like an accident--a beautiful gasoline rainbow".
Though sentimental at times, The Lovely Bones is a moving exploration of loss and mourning that ultimately puts its faith in the living and that is made even more powerful by a cast of convincing characters. Sebold orchestrates a big finish and though things tend to wrap up a little too well for everyone in the end, one can only imagine (or hope) that heaven is indeed a place filled with such happy endings. --Brad Thomas Parsons, Amazon.com
'My name was Salmon, like the fish, first name, Susie I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer.'See all Product description
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After she leaves her body, Susie learns that everyone has their own version of heaven - a theme mirrored in many other books I have read. She struggles to accept what has happened to her and so to a large extent clings to the world of the living, observing them from afar as her family and school friends slowly break apart. One of the more interesting characters is Ruth, a girl she hardly knew. but one who has a gift for sensing and also a gift for writing. Susie shadows this girl as she grows to maturity, along with Ray, her high school crush with whom she shared her first kiss. Because of their relationship, Ray was unfairly accused of involvement in Susie's disappearance, her body never having been found. Ray and Ruth strike up an unusual friendship which Susie watches from afar.
The effects on Susie's own family are understandably devastating, slowly pulling her parents marriage apart. Susie learns that her murderer has done this many times before to girls both older and younger than herself, but unlike other books I have read, does not seek justice, for this is for the living anyway - a bit like the ritual of funerals, for this is the act of finally letting go, something that for the most part, the dead have already done. There is in the end no justice for Susie's killer, who meets his own death in a most unassuming way and there is no real happy ending either, but there is reconciliation and with this the beginnings of acceptance on the part of her family who were so blown apart.
I can see that for many this would be a remarkable and ground breaking book. Many more have of course been written since, so one has to remember that this is now 6 years old - old by book standards in an industry where books have just three months in which to make their mark. Although moving, there are for me though me better written books of this genre, so despite the subject matter, I would give it four stars.
First chapter is fast paced and captivating, after that it drones on about things that aren't relevant, don't add to the story and aren't interesting. Actually had to put it down at page 70 after truely struggling to get that far because I could see it wasn't going to improve. Massivly disapointing. Complete waste of time and money and most importantly highly offensive. The author states that anyone that would rather die/fight than get raped is a fool or something along those lines. Why write the book then? Avoid.
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