The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

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“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973,” begins The Lovely Bones, which is based on Alice Sebold’s life story. Alice Sebold, the author of The Lovely Bones, grew up in Philadelphia and attended Syracuse University. As an eighteen-year-old freshman at Syracuse, she was brutally attacked and raped. Since then, she had attempted to write poetry and novels out of her experience but failed numerous times. Now, The Lovely Bones and her other two works Lucky and The Almost Moon are bestsellers which have won her awards such as the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award for Adult Fiction and the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel. The Lovely Bones is a mesmerizing story that is definitely worth reading.
Alice Sebold’s unique writing style is clearly shown in this novel. She portrays the story through the main character Susie’s point of view as she watches from above in heaven. She is able to see through each character’s feelings, which allows the readers to have a better understanding of each situation. The author’s organization of the story also attracts my attention. She tells the main conflict of the story on the first page of the book but then goes back and explains what happens in detail. She jumps from her look on heaven to her family and friends on Earth. She includes flashbacks every so often so that the reader can get to know her personality better and know what her life was like before she left this world.
In the beginning of the book, we already know that Susie is murdered and know who commits the crime. As the book progresses, Susie’s family and friends overcome their shock and sadness from her disappearance, but each character handles their problems in different ways. Susie’s father is “crazy with grief and [is] seeking revenge” because he can feel “the guilt on him, the hand of God pressing down on him, saying ‘you were not there when your daughter needed you.’” Susie’s mother, on the other hand, is “‘tired of thinking’” and tries “to find a doorway out of her ruined heart” by attempting to “erase her life and children.” Lindsey, Susie’s younger sister, is also “not immune” to the hardships of losing someone. “When the story of [Susie’s] death began to travel through the halls of the school, the horror [became] more horrible than it [really] was,” making Lindsey push herself even harder to stay strong and hide the fact that she misses Susie “‘more than anyone will ever know’” and only “letting her tears roll down [when] no one would see her.” Aside from watching the people on Earth continue life; Susie begins to figure out what heaven really means. This gives us, the readers, room to imagine a place where our desires are fulfilled. As you read through the story, you come to realize that “horror on Earth is real and it is every day.”
I would definitely recommend this novel to others. It is a very unique and interesting story that captures your attention from the very beginning. Just as the novel says, “Nothing is ever certain.” By that I mean: throughout your reading, the suspense holds onto you, keeping you wondering whether or not her murder case will be solved. “There was a window of time during which physical evidence was usually found; that window grew smaller every day.” You know who the murderer is; you’re just waiting to see if the people on Earth can figure it out. “Evidence was mounting, but they refused to believe.” Another good thing about this novel is that people of all ages can relate to one or more of the characters in the story if they have ever experienced the agony and anguish of getting past a loved one’s death. The only poor aspect of this book, in my opinion, is the unsatisfactory ending. Otherwise, this 328-page novel is a good read and completely worth your while, each chapter leaving you with the desire to read on and never put the book down.





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