The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

October 1, 2009
I had a great time reading The Lovely Bones. It was a novel that I just couldn’t put down that at sometimes when I was reading the book. As a realistic fiction type book, the sense of realism that is portrayed in this book is stunning. Susie Salmon is a 14 years-old girl murdered on December 6, 1973. Susie becomes a ghost in heaven and watches over her family, friends, and even strangers.

The author, Alice Sebold, grew up in the suburbs of the state of Philadelphia. As a freshman, 18 years-old, Alice was beaten and brutally raped in a tunnel to an amphitheatre. She finished her bachelor’s degree and eventually found her rapist and reported him to authorities where he received a maximum sentence for his charge. Sebold’s first published book was Lucky, a memoir of her rape. The police had said that she was lucky to be alive because not long after the attack, the rapist attacked another woman and killed her in the same tunnel. She then published award winning The Lovely Bones about Susie. Sebold’s books are mostly about rape victims because she believes that violence is something we can’t avoid because it is part of our lives.

The narrator of this novel is Susie Salmon and most of the book is told through the point of view of Susie. As I read the book, I could feel Susie’s emotions and how she felt during parts of the book. Susie’s bond to Earth is so great that she cannot personally experience heaven because she spends most of her time looking out for the people she cares about on Earth.

A main theme of The Lovely Bones is grief. The book does a very well job of picturing each character’s grief in the novel. Last night it had been my father who had finally said it, ‘She’s never coming home.’ A clear and easy piece of truth that everyone who had ever known me had accepted. But he needed to say it, and she needed to hear him say it (Sebold). Susie’s father cannot accept Susie’s death but in the end, he gives up after 8 long years. Susie’s mother becomes depressed and loses most of the happiness inside and her ocean eye becomes more apparent because of the deep empty loss inside her (Sebold). Finally, her sister Lindsey becomes resolute and determines not to show the weak side or her.

Structurally, The Lovely Bones did a very good job of leaving the reader hanging. Alice Sebold’s use of cliff-hangers made it so that the reader would continue reading to see what would happen next in the story. The death of the main character is a good use of mainstream to make it easy for the reader to read. The reader can understand what is going on in the novel, yet even though the reader knows that the main character is dead, it is still suspenseful. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves reading or even people who have had emotional conflicts or deaths in the family. The Lovely Bones is an excellent book that can portray feelings very well.

Overall, I enjoyed reading The Lovely Bones because the book made me stay up on my toes the whole time. The book taught me that redemption may make the pain go away, but not forever, Love is the only way where we can always have true happiness.





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