Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

October 5, 2009
By , plano, TX
Marielle Delf
Reidling – 4
Oct. 2, 2009

Repressed Memories

Alice Sebold's passionately written novel Lovely Bones is a stirring and captivating story of an innocent girl's murder. She bases most of her writing from her own personal experiences in the past. This heartbreaking story is about an innocent young girl who is brutally raped and murdered by her trusted neighbor who “wore his innocence like a comfortable old coat.” (p. 26) He even started to believe his own innocence because he persistently lied to her family.

Sebold's past has a tremendous affect on her writing and especially in Lovely Bones she draws ideas from a traumatic experience that she endured as an 18 year old. On her way home from her junior college, she was savagely raped and beaten in a tunnel by an unknown assailant. This greatly influenced this novel because she is relating the grief that Susie and her family had to suffer through to her own struggles with being attacked. Her background shows that she is an extreme optimist even in the worst of times. She has an outlook on things that is reassuring and calming. She uses the phrase, “nothing is ever certain” (p.21) to show her positive outlook and to give the audience a closer look at her philosophies on life.

Alice writes with a unique style that is both compelling and interesting to me. She has a satirical yet serious manner of which she goes about describing her feelings and thoughts as Susie Salmon. I also really enjoyed the way that the main character's murder took place at the beginning and throughout the rest of the novel she is narrating while watching from heaven. Not many writers have told stories from this point of view and I believe she did it specifically because of her own personal feelings and memories that she is trying to express to her readers. No one could possibly know the catastrophic impact being raped can have one a person and I believe Alice successfully establishes the idea to help the reader understand where she is coming from. Also, another identifiable characteristic of her writing is that she uses exemplary symbolism. “Murder had a blood red door on the other side of which was everything unimaginable to everyone.” (p. 206) This quote demonstrates the incomprehensible pain that comes with having a loved one be murdered, no parent should have to go through losing a child.

I enjoyed reading this novel and I glorify the narrative style that Sebold used. By having Susie tell her story from heaven it allows the reader to be at ease knowing that she is okay and in a place where she can be at peace. Also, it allows her to watch her family's lives unfold as they deal with the grief of losing a loved one and give commentary about her thoughts and feelings on things. I commend Sebold's use of personal inspiration and her bravery for writing about a subject that is so personal and tender to her, but I also think that is a reason why the book is so gripping. I suggest this reading for anyone who is willing to read a surreal tale of confronting one's painful memories and letting go of the past. If you would like to hear more about this heart-wrenching story about a young girls' struggle to let the past go, then you will just have to read the book for yourself!

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