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The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold’s second novel The Lovely Bones can relate to life experiences that everyone will go through one time in their life. The novel is about love, family, and releasing one’s past life and enjoying the present. The Lovely Bones is a fictional story based off Alice Sebold’s personal experiences with coping with a life altering event. Sebold was attacked, beaten and, raped as a freshman at Syracuse University at the age of eighteen. After she graduated from college, she wanted to write her story through poetry; however, her talent became more natural in writing novels.
In addition to The Lovely Bones, she published two other books- Lucky in 1999 and The Almost Moon in 2007. Alice Sebold’s debus novel, Lucky is a memoir describing her life altering incident regarding her rape and how her life changed following it. For her novels, Sebold won many awards such as American Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award for Adult Fiction in 2003 and The Bram Stocker Award for First Novel in 2002. The life event that Alice Sebold has encountered in her life makes her story, The Lovely Bones, believable and extraordinary.
Susie Salmon is fourteen years old when she is raped and murdered by her neighbor. Her killer is a mad man moving to different areas after each rape and murder of young girls. The Salmon’s loss of their oldest daughter is an unexpected tragedy that leads each family member to grieve in their own way. The novel explores the grieving stages and how different ages and personalities cope with the death differently. The younger sister of Susie kept her emotions inside and looked on the outside as if she had “lost nothing” (Sebold). The story is told by Susie in her heaven as she “watches (her) family” (Sebold) and murderer on Earth. Susie’s heaven “includes all (of her) simplest desires” (Sebold) and hopes that she wished to have fulfilled in her future. Sebold shows Susie-the main character- growing throughout the novel, from a naïve young girl into a mature young lady. Closely after Susie’s death, the reader can see she is desperately seeking her family’s attention. She would ask herself, “had my brother really seen me somehow, or was he merely a little boy telling beautiful lies?” (Sebold). I feel the story is believable and relatable, in that in some parts I felt as if I was beside Susie in her heaven watching how her death affected her family.



Alice Sebold uses mainstream diction throughout her novel which makes the reader feel more understanding toward the characters. Through every joyous moment to every devastating moment, my eyes were glued to the page of this well written novel. I felt that having the story told by Susie, in heaven, was ingenious. No lies could be told and I received the full story regarding each of the characters affected by Susie’s death. If the novel was to be narrated by any other character, we as the readers would have not been given all of the information needed to solve the novel. Sebold organizes the novel in chronological order with flashbacks when Susie remembers something from her childhood. The flashbacks give the reader insight into what has already happened and how it affected the characters in the present.

I found The Lovely Bones to be a mysterious and adventurous love story that any reader would enjoy. Alice Sebold’s writing style was beautiful and intriguing. Overall, this novel is a work of art with real life emotions expressed through Sebold’s life experiences.





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