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Alice Sebold's haunting and heartbreaking debut novel, The Lovely Bones, unfolds from heaven, where "life is a perpetual yesterday" and where Susie narrates and keeps watch over her grieving family and friends, as well as her brazen killer and the sad detective working on her case. As Sebold fashions it, everyone has his or her own version of heaven. Susie's resembles the athletic fields and landscape of a suburban high school: a heaven of her "simplest dreams," where "there were no teachers.... We never had to go inside except for art class.... The boys did not pinch our backsides or tell us we smelled; our textbooks were Seventeen and Glamour and Vogue."
The Lovely Bones works as an odd yet affecting coming-of-age story. Susie struggles to accept her death while still clinging to the lost world of the living, following her family's dramas over the years like an episode of My So-Called Afterlife. Her family disintegrates in their grief: her father becomes determined to find her killer, her mother withdraws, her little brother Buckley attempts to make sense of the new hole in his family, and her younger sister Lindsey moves through the milestone events of her teenage and young adult years with Susie riding spiritual shotgun. Random acts and missed opportunities run throughout the book--Susie recalls her sole kiss with a boy on Earth as "like an accident--a beautiful gasoline rainbow." Though sentimental at times, The Lovely Bones is a moving exploration of loss and mourning that ultimately puts its faith in the living and that is made even more powerful by a cast of convincing characters. Sebold orchestrates a big finish, and though things tend to wrap up a little too well for everyone in the end, one can only imagine (or hope) that heaven is indeed a place filled with such happy endings. --Brad Thomas Parsons
Look Inside the Motion Picture The Lovely Bones (Paramount, 2010)
(Click on each image below to see a larger view)
Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon
Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon
Mark Wahlberg as Jack Salmon
Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon and Director Peter Jackson
This book has been on my list for over a decade. Last week, I read it. Finally. I enjoy novels with paranormal themes, which "The Lovely Bones" explores with the death of... Read morePublished 7 hours ago by Invisible Man
After seeing how highly many readers rated this book, I am all astonishment. It just does not have a 5 or 4 or even 3 star feel to me. Read morePublished 5 days ago by D. Johnson
I was wary that this would be sad or creepy, but it was neither. It was very well written and ultimately sweet and uplifting.Published 7 days ago by bb user
I have no words. I don't recall a book that made mortality as beautiful as this one does. You won't be disappointed if you choose to read it. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Chris
Hauntingly beautiful---the voice will stay will you for years to come.Published 14 days ago by Alice Puglise
omg so good! one of my favorite books. didn't even know there was a movie and now that I know I need to watch it asap!!!Published 16 days ago by Megan