Book Cover
Title The Lovely Bones
Series ---
Author Alice Sebold
Cover Art Daniel Lee
Publisher Back Bay Books - 2004
First Printing Little, Brown and Company - 2002
Category ---
Warnings Rape

Main Characters

Susie Salmon

Main Elements Ghosts

Once in a generation a novel comes along that taps a vein of universal human experience, resonating with readers of all ages. The Lovely Bones is such a book - a phenomenal #1 bestseller celebrated at once for its narrative artistry, its luminous clarity of emotion, and its astonishing power to lay claim to the hearts of millions of readers around the world.

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973." So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her - her friends trading rumours about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humour, suspense, even joy.

You might be wondering why I didn't find a cover image that wasn't covered in stickers. The book was 30% because it was on the Bestsellers List. It was a Heather's Pick (Heather is the official booklover at Chapters/Indigo). And this was why I chose to read the book, everyone one else seemed to like it.

It was different, a story told from the point of view of a young teenage girl in Heaven, looking down on her family, friends, and her murderer. It was interesting how she could see everyone, though it was also a bit of a disturbing thought that your relatives were watching every move you make. She watched her family fall apart, her mother have an affair, her sister losing her virginity. At times I cringed as these poor people never got any privacy! But it was also interesting the way Susie reacted to what she saw. None of it really bothered her all that much, and is perhaps an accurate view of what the dead would think of the living. Basically forgiving them for their weaknesses. She wasn't outraged that her mother cheated on her father, she just sort of accepted events as they occured, even though she herself was too young to have experienced sex, except at the moment of her death when she was raped.

Ah yes, the rapist pedophile. Getting inside his head was quite disturbing, completely creeped me out. And one even started feeling sorry for him, as he tried to take out his desire to kill on small animals, rather than small children, but ultimately failing in his attempts.

It is a ghost story in a way, but not about the ghost itself. It is really about what happens after such a tragic event. About the family that falls apart. The boyfriend that might have been. And how it could change the life of a girl who wasn't even friends with the victim. Everyone was affected in some way. The ghost merely watched and told us what she saw.

Heaven isn't quite what you think it is.

Posted: March 2007


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