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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)
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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 is a beautiful yet gripping story of a young girl who was killed at such a young age. It was well-written, it brings out so many emotions once you read it. Amazing author.Published 11 hours ago by Kathleen Anderson
Loved this book. It never ceases to amaze me how different the opinions of readers can be over the same book. Excellent read and so much better than the movie.Published 2 days ago by Paranormal Book Reviewer
Started out amazing, with the story of 14-year-old girl in heaven who watches her family deal with the aftermath of her rape and murder. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Mark
Would have given five stars if the ending was a little bit different--just a little.Published 6 days ago by Carol Edgington
One of the best books I have ever read. So much meaning, and gave me a better outlook on how family will always love each other.Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
Very scary and quite morbid, but real. Movie was hard to watch. Easier to read the book.Published 19 days ago by airporter46