The Lovely Bones

October 1, 2009
It’s very unusual and strange, yet fascinating, to think about knowing someone else’s actions and thoughts up in heaven. No person in the real world can tell others the story of their death; however, in Alice Sebold’s instant bestseller novel, The Lovely Bones, Susie Salmon is able to share her deep inner thoughts as a victim of rape and murder. The Lovely Bones is a story of Susie’s perspective in heaven looking down on earth at her family, her murderer, and her friends and neighbors. This book is very intriguing because it is enlightening, disturbing, warm, and beautiful. Alice Sebold was attacked and brutally raped as a teenager; her experience through this traumatizing incident motivated her to right her first book, Lucky, a memoir about her rape. She wrote The Lovely Bones after writing Lucky, and she also has a third book, The Almost Moon that has gotten positive response. A similar work, To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, contains a like message and also shares views about growing up from a childhood filled with conflicts of life and youth. The Lovely Bones does this with an unusual take and displays the message of grief, love, and acceptance with creativity and imagination. This book – this masterpiece – has been awarded the Richard and Judy Best Read Award and the Bram Stroker Award. The Lovely Bones is an amazing fictional novel; it captivated me from the very beginning, and you are missing out if you haven’t read this stunning success.

I enjoyed this novel from the very first sentence, “My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie”, to the very end because of Susie’s variation of diction and use of mainstream conversation. The Lovely Bones is very easy to understand and relate to because everyone has lost someone they are close to, and for young adults because all the experiences that Susie sees in heaven are things that happen in typical teenagers’ lives. More importantly, however, it’s the way Sebold made Susie talk. I like the way Susie “talks” to the reader because it’s similar to the way my friends and I will talk to each other. The author makes it natural and easy to understand Susie and her thoughts because it seems like she is actually holding a casual conversation with the reader as she describes in mainstream wording what was happening through her eyes in heaven. One example of this casual language is when Susie says, “Wow! – what I felt when [Samuel] did that”, and “[Lindsey] never would have told me any of this stuff.” However, the diction sprinkled around in the book gives the reader a clearer understanding of what is happening and what Susie is thinking. For example, as Abigail is coping with her pain, Sebold states that “her rage, her loss, her despair” was “clogging up her being”, and “needed Len to drive the dead daughter out.” This use of diction helps the reader have apparent thoughts and judges about Abigail and the other characters in the story, like Grandma Lynn “dragging the light back in.”

The Lovely Bones has whimsical ways of keeping the reader in suspense through the clever use of characterization. My favorite way the author keeps the reader interested is by the way she characterizes Mr. Harvey, Susie’s killer. His very compelling character is portrayed as a shady, crazy, psycho creeper that is secluded from the rest of the neighborhood. Mr. Harvey gave me chills and could very well be the person that haunts you in your nightmares as he “brought back a knife. Unsheathed, it smiled at [Susie], curving up in a grin.” This book also gives good imagery and a clear picture of the setting. The underground hole in the cornfield that “was the size of a small room like the mud room in our house where we kept our boots and slickers” was one important place that was very clearly painted.

The Lovely Bones is a book that I absolutely enjoyed and would happily read all over again. This is a book that can touch everyone’s heart and soul, and easily stimulates emotions you don’t normally feel. I would recommend it to everyone especially to young adults!

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