Book Review: The Lovely Bones

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The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – Paperback, 328 pages – Published 2002 by Little, Brown and Company

If my English Lang and Lit class hadn’t chosen to study this book this year, I probably never would have read it. At least, not yet. Not because I didn’t want to but simply because I may never have been motivated to do so. Honestly though, I’m very glad we chose this novel (even if I personally did not vote for it).

As I’m studying it for my exams, I really don’t want to spend too much time writing about it now. But I will do a quick review about the pros and cons of this novel.

So the book is about the death of a girl. Well, not about it, but it’s a very important aspect (obviously). The victim, Susie Salmon, narrates the story from beyond the grave in her “heaven”, recalling memories from her lifetime and also watching her family’s life unravel after her death.

There is an air of mystery to this, but not for the readers. We know from the start who murdered Susie, but her family do not. We follow them as they try to figure out what happened, getting closer and closer to the truth.

This book has an aspect of fantasy and supernatural to it, as well as mostly being a drama-based novel. We learn about Susie, and then we follow Ruth and Ray and her siblings, Buckley and Lindsey. We watch her parent’s marriage go through hell and back, and we even watch her murderer escape the town unpunished.

Everything about this is very interesting. The writing, simple but still detailed and descriptive; the characters, who grow and change as the book progresses; the plot, or multiple mini-plots, evolving around all the different characters.

I really liked this book, and at first I thought it might become a favourite. But it didn’t carry on quite as well as it started, and became more or more of a realistic, dramatic story about love and life. It’s so interesting to see how Sebold portrays heaven, and how the lives of her Susie’s friends and family are affected both directly and indirectly by her death. A good 4 stars for this book!

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