Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

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Friday, January 9, 2009

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (Book Review)



Title: The Lovely Bones

Author: Alice Sebold

Genre: fiction

First sentence: My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

This was the most original book that I have read in quite awhile. The narrator of the story, Susie, is the murder victim. We see her family, her friends, and even her murderer, Mr. Harvey, in the days and years after her death through her eyes.

She leads us down that road as her friends and her 'crush' Ray try to understand and come to terms with her murder. As her family disintegrates, she begins to see them as individuals - even as those around them on Earth only see them as shadows of Susie.

Her father is convinced he knows who committed the crime and one night he follows a light into a neighbor's cornfield, only to be clobbered with his own baseball bat by some innocent high school kids. This is the last straw for Susie's mother. Her mother's loneliness is only amplified with Susie's death and she seeks comfort away from her husband. This eventually leads her to the other side of the country where she tries to forget.

Grandma Lynn moves in with her dad, brother Buckley and sister Lyndsey to try to help them cope with Susie's loss and their abandonment by their mother. The police have pretty much told the family that they have no leads and they are closing the investigation so Lyndsey decides to go looking for evidence herself. She watches Mr. Harvey's house, and one afternoon when he leaves, she breaks in and actually finds some evidence. She barely gets out of the house in time, but Mr. Harvey has seen her so knows that he needs to leave.

Come and read this book and follow her family as they move from her murder and their isolation as they come together year's later and are finally able to say out loud 'Susie is not coming home again.'

This novel was wonderfully written and gives us a picture of one little girl's heaven, which, while not always joyous, is stable and safe. Susie's heaven allows her to mature and move on in much the same way that her family does.

9 comments:

Molly said...

I also enjoyed this very unique point of view and still, 6 months later, find myself reflecting on it.

I recently purchased her first book, Lucky, because of her writing style. However, I will need to be in the right frame of mind to read its subject matter.

J. Kaye Oldner said...

I really agree about this book being original. Did you read her nonfiction book? It was just as intense, if not more than this one.

Robin said...

Very nice review! I read this book a couple of years ago and found it incredibly powerful and well written. It really was original, and haunting, and I still find myself thinking about it.

Audra said...

I think you deserve a second Butterfly Award this week!

http://audrasinsanity.blogspot.com/2009/01/butterfly-award.html

Teddy Rose said...

Wonderful review Kristi! I really liked this book too. I had avoided it for a very long time due to the subject matter but I was so glad when I finally read it!

B said...

Good review. I've had this on my shelf for a while, but have put it off because someone told me it was really disturbing/scary. Your review makes me want to give it a go. I read a book by Amy Tan called Saving Fish from Drowning (pretty sure that's the title) where the author was also dead. Interesting read. B.

Amber said...

I think it's the unique point of view that helps make this novel a memorable one. This is one I read years ago but it still stays with me.

K said...

I've read this and found it a deeply emotional book almost painful to read at times.

Jessica said...

Congrats on finishing another Lit Flicks selection! I really enjoyed this book, though it was a little strange. I'm looking forward to seeing what Peter Jackson does with the movie.

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