Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Genre: General Fiction
Publisher, Year: Little Brown, 2002
Other Works: Lucky
Flags: Adult themes, tenuous references
Rating: A+, or Must Read Now!
Challenge: Countdown, Library
Premise: A young girl is murdered. She narrates the story, looking down from heaven on her family and friends as they cope with her loss.

I’ve been meaning to read this book for some time now, but I’ve been almost scared to pick it up, given the premise. I was afraid it would disturb me, in a Law and Order SVU–sort of way. Really, you can’t broach the subjects of rape and murder without disturbance, but I was impressed with Sebold’s take. She definitely pushed the envelope, but in a way that made life just that much more meaningful and precious. I still can’t stop thinking about it.

The book starts out with an introduction: “My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” A sinking feeling of dread follows this proclamation, as we know when Mr. Harvey approaches Susie and asks her to follow him that she won’t be coming back. But, she knows it, too. As she relates the story, she tells us, in hindsight, what she should of done and how she should have acted, if only she’d known. It’s heartrending, it really is. And there’s nothing to be done to change it. Unfortunately, it won’t be the last time, as the reader, that you’ll feel the burn of regret. +/-

Susie finds herself in heaven after the tragic assault. She can’t help but look down on her family almost every moment, to see how they are coping and living their lives after her demise. They try to move on, to get past it, without forgetting Susie. But, Susie never gets any older, never says or does anything new--she’s simply a presence and lurks in the dark corners of their minds. It’s hard for Susie to watch and be able to do nothing--all while her killer runs free.

It’s a heart-pounding tale; one you will find yourself unable to put down or stop thinking about. Although this book centers around a terrible death, the story is really about life and family and loved ones. It’s about making connections with others. It’s about how sadness can break us, and then faith puts us back together. Those relationships are never quite the same, but they are significant because they were not easily formed--that’s what makes them lovely.

1 comment:

KIKA said...

I've heard a lot about this book, and the movie. Have you seen it? I was worried at first because I knew it was a story about a little girl who got raped and killed. But I'm glad there is so much more to the story--about family and relationships. Glad you liked it! I'll have to gear myself up to read this one :)