Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Rating: * *
Review: The Lovely Bones is an amazingly constructed novel about a young girl who is the last victim in a string of murders across several states in the United States. Susie Salmon is the young protagonist, as a reader you immediately feel sorry for her; not for the fact she was murdered but for the fact she feels alienated in her own home. And then later we pity her for the fact she never got the chance to change that as her life was prematurely ended.
The book itself centres around the events that take places after she has died and her experiences in a sort of purgatory, as she tries to make sense of what has happened at the move on, leaving all she knows behind. The novel is told entirely from Susie’s POV – although most of the time she is an observer to what is happening on Earth – even though she is dead, her presence is still felt by the living, especially by her father.
The book tackles difficult questions about how parents deal with the death of a child and how other sibling evolve as people without the influence and example of the eldest sibling. The most though provoking question Sebold asks in the novel is “what happens after we die?” – it is a question we have all thought about one time or another. It is a question we all have unique answers to and Sebold’s view is uniquely perfect in the sense we would all want to stay connected to our loved ones after we die, but the dead must leave Earth and let the living live, in the same why the living must let the dead stay dead. It works a bit like a two way connection.
The lovely bones perfectly highlights Sebold’s strange yet sensible thought process throughout the novel in the words, actions and thoughts of Susie Salmon. The book is written almost wholly as Susie’s monologue but the monologue actually belong to the author not the character, like in some sub-par novels.
The lovely bones is a good read for anyone who is interested in the genre, but I would highly recommend to anyone who has an interest in moral questions. I have found from friends and family alike, that men liked this book more than the women because it wasn’t “one of the flowery novel girls like, but it was more real”, which is the truth, even though the novel is purely fictional, I as a reader found hints of truth in the emotions and grieving processes of different characters which resonated with me.
Buy it here:
Also see: Lucky by Alice Sebold