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Customer Review

on July 28, 2002
Less than 2 years ago, our 13-year-old son Daniel died - very unexpectedly, of a massive asthma attack while on a school retreat. I purchased "The Lovely Bones", knowing the book's premise, for our 17-year old daughter to read. Not sure if the content of the book would be too close to our actual experience for Julia to handle, I decided to read it first (this is the first time I have done any pre-reading, as Julia is perfectly able to decide on her own whether or not to read a book, but still. . . ). I was very surprised to find myself riveted to the book, and unable to stop reading it until finished. While I, like many earlier reviewers, found the end a little too contrived, I certainly feel that the book's strengths far outweigh its weaknesses.
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.
Nonetheless - some aspects of the narrative hit home, and I found myself tearing up more over this fictional account than our own all-too-real loss! I was forced to wonder what would Daniel think if he is able to follow our lives, as Susie followed those of her family and friends. Does he still pine for the girl he had a crush on? Is he sorry that he can't see the sequal to his beloved MIB movie? Is he able to eat his fill of cheese pizzas, now that he doesn't have to take at least one bite of his mother's sometimes too-exotic vegetarian experiments? Does he find it annoying that, after years of refusing to allow pets, we now have 3 crazy cats, as a result of Julia "needing" them? Is he bemused by the grief-stricken responses to his death by those same classmates he had sought as friends for so many years?
I am awaiting Julia's response to the book. In particular, I want to know how "genuine" the characterizations of Susie and Lindsay appear to her. I will suggest that she submit a review herself, so we will all know the answer.
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