Author- Alice Sebold
Title – The Lovely Bones
Genre – Fiction
Publication: September 30, 2009
Number of Pages: 368 pages
A # 1 bestseller – Recently turned into a movie-
Susie Salmon is 14 years old when she is kidnapped, raped and murdered by a neighbor on her way back from school. Her soul is trapped in “her heaven” a place between earth and heaven where she watches and narrates the subsequent police investigations on her death and how her family and friends try to cope after her murder. The entire neighborhood is shaken up by the murder of Susie Salmon. Her friends and teachers are shocked even as they continue to look for her killer and try to make some sense out of the gruesome incident.
The concept of a dead girl watching from “heaven” intrigued me as well as many other readers. Even though the pacing is measured, The Lovely Bones is so chilling and gripping that it’s so hard to put down. With Susie narrating from the dead, the reader is easily drawn to her and able to empathize with her thoughts of ‘what might have been’. Especially about being robbed of the chance to experience teenage life – her boy crush, her first kiss and other activities her peers are getting into. But sadly, Susie helplessly watches as her murderer moves about freely right in her neighborhood with no qualms.
The author does a great job of examining the subject of life after death as she explores the question about what happens to the souls of the departed. Are they truly watching the living? Could the dead possibly intervene in the lives of the living? This book might provide some answers to readers curious about life beyond death while at the same time resonate with those who actually feel they might have had some real contact with dead.
As a début novel which immediately became a number one best seller, I give Sebold credit for conceiving such a fascinating theme. However I noted a couple of inconsistencies and unrealistic scenes especially towards the end of the novel which made the wrap up a little awkward – You have to read this book to judge for yourself.
The Lovely Bones strongly evokes a sense of sadness and loss. It is a somber coming of age story that will appeal to teenagers and families dealing with a loss.
I found the movie a bit more cheery than the book – go check it out and share your thoughts…