The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

October 1, 2009
“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973” (Sebold 5). Alice Sebold begins the story of Susie Salmon with this attention grabbing sentence. Immediately, I was pulled in, wanting to know what happened to Susie. Sebold also having been raped and brutally beaten at the age of 18 like the main character of her book, makes the story that much more personal and believable. The Lovely Bones is about a communities struggle to deal with the murder of Susie Salmon and at the same time it takes you on a mesmerizing journey through the inner lives of every character.
“The blood I tasted was bitter. Acid” (Sebold 140). In this quote Susie describes the taste of her father’s blood allowing the reader to understand that she really can feel her family from heaven. Sebold’s style of writing makes the reader feel as if they themselves were in the characters bodies feeling the excruciating pain and need for revenge. As the family is dealing with the murder of their daughter/sister, Susie is in heaven able to watch them and feel what their feeling. Sebold writes the story in first person from Susie’s point of view showing that Susie’s story doesn’t stop at death. In fact, it’s far from over. Lovely Bones is a beautiful journey that begins as a precious life is brought to a horrifying and brutal end.
“When I was sure I would find a quiet way, and I would kill him” (Sebold 88). Sebold has an amazing way of making the characters seem like real people. Every single character has a way about them that makes them feel very believable. I was very fond of the way Sebold stepped away from the norm and allowed the characters to have issues that most authors wouldn’t dare put in a novel. For example, in the quote above Sebold writes about a fathers desire to bust his daughter’s murderer when a captivating neighbor introduces an interesting idea to him. This book takes you deep inside the characters exposing a fathers consuming agony, a mother’s loneliness, a sister’s fear of being seen as “the dead girl’s sister”, a murderer’s plot to cover the crime, a lover’s painful memories, and a classmate’s sense that she can feel the dead.

Relationships are a major theme in this story. Sebold does a beautiful job of portraying how love endures change in times of hardship and tragedy. In The Lovely Bones, relationships both blossom and fade. Just two weeks after Susie’s death a lovely relationship is formed between Susie’s sister Lindsey and a boy named Samuel. Another adulteress relationship is born between two deeply wounded people. And a relationship between husband and wife goes through trials in a time of instability. As time after the murder goes on some of these relationships hopelessly die as the others continue to flourish. Sebold demonstrates in the plot how love is the only thing that can conquer death.
The Lovely Bones is a great novel for readers that enjoy tragedy, romance, and mystery because this book is a captivating mixture of all three. Although it is an easy read, the complexity of the characters is far from easy. It’s a fascinating insight into love and the importance of it on Earth and in heaven.

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