The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

October 1, 2009
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The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is filled with love, mystery, and horror. What more would you want from a book? Every word on the page makes you feel like you’re getting closer to the character’s killer. If you are looking for a book that you can’t put down, this is definitely the book for you.

When author Alice Sebold was a freshman at Syracuse University, she was attacked, beaten, and brutally raped in the tunnel connecting to the amphitheatre. After she graduated from Syracuse, she wrote her first book Lucky, a memoir based upon her rape. The Lovely Bones is Alice Sebolds gripping second writing, which is a novel about a young girl named Susie Salmon who was brutally raped and murdered by a deranged man named George Harvey. The book’s message, “if you have lost a loved one you have to move on with your life,” is intertwined throughout the pages of the book.

“My Name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” And so the story begins. Throughout the book Susie is in her Heaven which is an experience completely different from what she expected. Her Heaven is just like her school except “There were no teachers in the school.” “The boys did not pinch our backsides or tell us we smelled; our texts were Seventeen and Glamour and Vogue.”
From her “Teen Dream” Heaven she watched her friends, family, and killer go on through life without her. Seeing each of them cope with her death in their own way. Her mother really just kept to her self and never wanted to talk about Susie, her death, or how she was feeling from day-to-day. “The Bottles, all of them, lay broken on the floor, the sails and boat bodies strewn among them.” That was her dad’s way of dealing with Susie’s death. She and her father would build boats together in their free time. Basically, it was their bonding time together, but now that she is gone he doesn’t need to see the boats anymore, which is why he destroys them.

The book is compelling, I never wanted to put it down. It was appealing to me because it was coming from a teenage point of view. All the books I have had to read in English are based on gothic times with old English that I could not comprehend what they were saying. Sebold tells the story from Susie’s point of view. Since Susie is in middle school you don’t have to worry about difficult vocabulary. It is easily understood, since it is from a teens point of view. Plus, the time setting is in the late seventies, so she isn’t talking from the nineteenth century.
The good thing about the book is that once Alice introduces a new character in the book, she gives us background history of the person. She doesn’t just name them and moves on; she lets us know their relationship with Susie. From her Dog to the girl she barely talked to at school I knew their relationship to Susie and how they all helped in some way to help find Susie’s murderer. When you read the book you won’t be confused when the characters pop out from left to right. If you want a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat, I highly recommend The Lovely Bones.

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