The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 1, 2009
What is it like to be dead, to be able to watch the living from heaven, to still wish to be alive? Alice Sebold quite successfully is able to convey such a scenario and develop the concept into a thrilling and insightful novel, Lovely Bones. Susie, a teen girl about to enter high school, has become a victim to rape and murder, and is the character that is in the afore described situation.

Once you get through the gruesome and graphic description of Susie’s rape and murder, the novel can, and will, turn out to be a thrilling can’t-put-it-down book. Each character is convincing and believable and carefully crafted and shaped. Even Susie’s murderer is made to seem at least somewhat human. Mr. Harvey “...had killed animals, taking lesser lives to keep from killing a child” (Sebold 131). Lindsey especially is a very realistic character because of the way she handles the death of her older sister. She handles it all on her own. While this is harder in more ways than one, it helped to build her character and to help her mature better as the years passed by. Susie is very well developed and appropriately complex. She speaks with diction that is typical of a girl her age, but at the same time, she sounds more mature than she really is. Susie offers thoughtful insight to the events that she witnesses on earth from heaven throughout the novel.

Lovely Bones has many insights, one of which is knowing what it really means to desire something. In the beginning, Susie is still in the process of maturing and does not really know what it is she really does desire. Franny, Susie’s mentor in heaven, tells Susie that if she wanted something, she had to “...desire it enough and understand why – really know – [and] it will come” (Sebold 19). Susie is confused by this at first. However, by the end, she has figured out what it is she desired and why she desired it so much and is able to have a strong grasp on what this means and why it was important. This underlying concept drives the entire novel from start to finish.

Sebold expertly weaves in meaningful insight and entertainment into Lovely Bones. She is able to break up the novel, jumping from events in heaven to events back on earth and back to ones on heaven in a way that is seamless and that makes sense. She makes sure that the events tie together logically. This helps the book to flow easily and leave you thirsty for more.

For me as a reader, a book is usually very entertaining and exciting to read if I can easily put a soundtrack to the words on the page. If I can do this, I know that the author has successfully conveyed a strong and meaningful message, mood, or tone. For Lovely Bones, this was a very easy task, and the ease was for the most part unmatched by other books I have read in the past.

Overall, Lovely Bones is a very entertaining read and very thoughtful and insightful. Sebold has expertly crafted an outstanding novel that teens of all ages and backgrounds will enjoy it.

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