The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

October 1, 2009
More by this author
Lovely Bones

Can you imagine trusting an adult only to find out that their a serial killer who rapes and murders people? Like Susie, Alice Sebold, herself was raped when she was 18 years old while attending college at Syracuse. Sebold relates her situation to Susie’s; by making this connection she makes the story very real, believable, and compelling. In 1999, Sebold published Lucky her memoir on her rape; she was attacked, beaten and brutally raped. After Lucky, she wrote her bestselling novel Lovely Bones and her second novel is The Almost Moon which begins off “When all was said and done, killing my mother came easily.” Alice Sebold won two awards: American Bestsellers Association Book of the Year Award for Adult Fiction in 2003 then in 2002 she won the Bram Stoker Award for her first novel.

The diction in the story is very understandable: every day language, which fits the book since a fourteen year old girl is telling the story, thus the audience age range is very broad. Throughout the book Susie’s voice was very strong and felt like Susie was talking directly to the reader. Susie’s voice is very effective and real, you feel like you are in the story experiencing life along with her. The organization of the story goes back and forth between Susie’s life in heaven, to back on earth with the lives of her family and friends. The character points of views are very strong and understandable. From the moment I picked up the book I could understand where the characters where coming from and it felt like you were experiencing life with them. For example when Jack Salmon, the father, has a heart attack Buckley, the son, is very upset that he’s going to lose another loved one. “Buckley knew he should be too old for it to matter but I sympathized with him. The good-night kiss was something at which my father excelled.” These types of situations make you feel as if the story is very real and believable.

When I first picked up the book I couldn’t put it down, the beginning is very startling “I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” I enjoyed how right away I knew what happened to Susie and that she wasn’t holding back any details of how she was lured in by Mr. Harvey. “I took a shortcut through the cornfield…Mr. Harvey said, “Don’t let me startle you, of course I was startled. I’ve built something back here would you like to see it?” Throughout the book we see how Susie from “heaven” is watching down on her family and friends. She watches them experience life and she yearns to be down on earth with them. Sebold does a really good job at showing how Susie is coping with her grief and how everyone on earth copes with their grief differently. Ultimately, her death unites them together to accept that she’s gone. The novel shows us how tragedies can tear families completely apart “Mom left because she couldn’t take it,” then bring them back together but even closer than before. Also you see how her family and friends are growing up and maturing into men and women and how they are changing both emotionally and physically. “The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.”

I would definitely recommend the novel because it’s appealing to a broad range of audience and is easy to understand. Everything about the story works; how Susie does back and forth from her life to her family’s life. The transitions help you fully understand what she’s feeling and how she tries to understand what’s going on, on earth. It’s a book that one could relate to because all families go through rough patches in their lives and come out of the situation stronger and closer than before.

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