The Lovely Bones

October 2, 2009
By , Dallas, TX
Thinking about a young girl getting raped and then killed by her next door neighbor is abhorrent. While reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, I felt as if I was in the characters’ shoes, understanding exactly what the characters were going through and how they felt. Sebold, portrays the emotions of the characters very well. Since the book is based on true accounts of her life, the reader feels as if he or she has a special connection with the author. The character, Susie, is based off Sebold’s character. At the age of eighteen, Sebold was harshly beaten and then raped while attending college. She was studying writing, and her experience of being raped influenced her to write her first book called Lucky. Sebold’s books have been read across the nation, which is why she received the Bram Stoker Award in 2002, and the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award in 2003.
The Lovely Bones is a book that will surprise the reader until the very end. It kept me on the edge of my seat, making me read more and more in order to know what happens next. I found myself crying at many parts while reading this book. I thought that dealing with a loss would be hard enough, but in addition to coping with Susie’s death, the Salmons also had to deal with a mother and wife abandoning the family. The Salmon family goes through many up and downs throughout the novel, depicting a normal family learning to overcome life’s challenges.
I was amazed to see how the characters began to grow up and mature during the course of this novel. It seemed at many times that the children were actually handling the situations more maturely than the adults were. Susie’s sister, Lindsey, starts acting like the mom, “the wife to [her] father, as well as the oldest, most responsible child” (Sebold 134) when Abigail isolates herself from the family. After reading this book, the reader will appreciate everything he or she has and will learn to cherish the love of his or her family because he or she realizes how strong the bond between family is.
Sebold’s use of mainstream diction makes the characters more believable and easier to relate to. Since Susie is a teenager, she uses phrases like “this is neato” (9). Sebold does not try to make Susie sound smarter than she really was because Susie was just entering high school. Susie starts off by explaining her favorite quote, “If they give you ruled paper, write the other way” (1), which portrays how Susie is a typical teen, not wanting to follow the rules at school. I was able to relate to Susie, thinking about all the times I had rebellious thoughts, not wanting to listen to my parents. Even though the story is being told through a teenager’s perspective, the book is still written very well. Sebold uses many similes to compare the characters’ experiences, such as “the glorious white flesh that had never seen the sun, like an infant’s” (50). She describes everything so well, that the reader feels if he or she is there, watching everything as it occurs.
The Lovely Bones has it all - suspense, romance, heartfelt connections, and even some humor. The reader will laugh, cry, and feel a certain warmth in his or her heart while reading this book. No matter how the reader is feeling that day or what has occurred in his or her life, the reader will find this book enjoyable and interesting to relate to. With both frightening and exciting instances, Susie takes the reader through her journey from earth to heaven. She “could not have what [she] most: Mr. Harvey dead and [her] living” (20). Will Susie’s wish come true? Will the killer be caught?

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