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The Lovely Bones Paperback – April 20, 2004
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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 text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
As a studen at Syracuse University in 1980, Alice is the victim of a horribly brutal rape as she leaves a friends house. The experience understandably shatters her, but even she does not realize the depth of her feelings or the effect they are having on her life and behavior. She eventually sees her rapist again, and takes us through the trial and subsequent events in her life, which are tied intricately to the rape even though she is unaware of it. The afterward picks up ten years after the book opens as she is still battling with the emotional scars that have not yet healed.
That anyone can talk about such horror at all is amazing, but Alice really allows readers inside her head, hiding nothing from them. Her painful interactions with her family and friends as they try to do what's best for her, and as she tries to convince them that she's 'recovered' come across as achingly real as they were for her. Readers, too, can see how damaged Alice still feels even as she tells herself that she's not, and I felt myself rooting for this heroic woman throughout the book, hoping that she would find whatever justice that she could and pick up the pieces of her life.
This is no maudlin tale, not at all romanticized or sugar coated, which may be difficult for some to take, as it was for me at times. But I kept reading because I was so amazed at what was being offered, that someone was sharing such a personal experience, something that affects more women than most people know.Read more ›
This novel is not flawless, nor should it expected to be. The narrative loses some of its momentum near the end. In addition, Sebold makes the mistake of adding a scene (which I won't describe here) seemingly designed to lessen the reader's regret about Susie's missed coming-of-age, but instead the scene falls flat. Susie's loss is as much a part of this book as her family's is, and to pretend it can be reversed, even if only temporarily, defeats the story. Still, given the first two-thirds of the book, this misstep and others can be forgiven.
The Lovely Bones is one of those books you can pick up and not want to put down again until you finish. At roughly 325 pages, this novel demands to be read on a plane, or on the beach, or when you have good chunks of time available to sit with it. Don't frustrate yourself by allowing a half hour here and there.
This is one book that deserves its spot on the bestseller list.
About 6 months after Daniel's death, I had a dream that portrayed a visit by my husband, daughter, and myself to Daniel in what was clearly "his heaven" - also containing a school in a residential neighborhood, a "foster family" which apparently served as his "home away from home", and - most positively - a large number of new friends. This was the best aspect of his Heaven, as far as I was concerned, as Daniel had been troubled for his entire life by an inability to make many friends, and here he was almost too busy to visit with his family because of wanting to get on with his activities with his buddies!
I have often offered the circumstances of Daniel's death - fast and probably painless (as a friend remarked, "Daniel doesn't know he's dead yet"), and that he was able to donate many of his organs - as probable explanations to those who find me so "upbeat" since he died. I contrast this situation with other, well-publicized child kidnappings, murders, and (worst, in my opinion) those events which are never resolved.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The bar is SUPER short. Not what I expected. Would not recommend.Published 2 hours ago by Lauren Hernandez
I couldn't put this down as soon as I started reading it. It's so beautifully-written and very captivating. Loved Susie and her life story, right down to the end.Published 2 days ago by Irene Dawson
Was required for class. Personally did not find it very enjoyable (not because I've been offended by the subject of rape or anything). Read morePublished 4 days ago by Yang Jun Yeong
This was a pretty good novel outside of my normal reading comfort zone. I was pleasantly surprised by my interest level. The storyline is a bit morbid and, at few points, graphic. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Whitney
This book was a good read. I got it at a great price. it was delivered in excellent condition.Published 7 days ago by Becca
I actually bought this book years ago and couldn't get into it. One day I stumbled on the movie and couldn't take my eyes off the screen. Now I HAD to read the book. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Beaner