Sunday, October 11

Book Review: The Lovely Bones

Title: The Lovely Bones

Author: Alice Sebold

Pages: EBook (about 346 pages)

Summary: When we first meet Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. As she looks down from this strange new place, she tells us, in the fresh and spirited voice of a fourteen-year-old girl, a tale that is both haunting and full of hope. In the weeks following her death, Susie watches life on Earth continuing without her-her school friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her family holding out hope that she'll be found, her killer trying to cover his tracks. As months pass without leads, Susie sees her parents' marriage being contorted by loss, her sister hardening herself in an effort to stay strong, and her little brother trying to grasp the meaning of the word gone. And she explores the place called heaven. It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets. There are counselors to help newcomers adjust and friends to room with. Everything she ever wanted appears as soon as she thinks of it-except the thing she most wants: to be back with the people she loved on Earth. With compassion, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie sees her loved ones pass through grief and begin to mend. Her father embarks on a risky quest to ensnare her killer. Her sister undertakes a feat of remarkable daring. And the boy Susie cared for moves on, only to find himself at the center of a miraculous event. The Lovely Bones is luminous and astonishing, a novel that builds out of grief the most hopeful of stories. In the hands of a brilliant new writer, this story of the worst thing a family can face is transformed into a suspenseful and even funny novel about love, memory, joy, heaven, and healing.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: The beginning of this book is powerful, creepy and horrifying, setting it up for a very emotional journey for both the reader and the characters. One of the best aspects of the book is how well the author was able to portray the anguish of losing a loved, especially in such a horrific way. Although it was sad to read, it was very well done, especially at being able to experience each individual characters emotions and reactions to the loss.

I also enjoyed Sebold’s version of heaven. Although I’m not religious and usually don’t connect to stories that are heavy on spiritual journey’s or religious elements, I did enjoy this side of the story. It was a very different picture of heaven she wrote about, almost mythical, so kudos for the author for this.

On the other hand, there were a few things in the story and about her writing style I really didn’t like. I found some of her descriptions to be very, well awkward. Sometimes the way she described things, such as a person’s eyes or laugh just didn’t seem to fit with the story it’s self, so it made for some very unusual passages in the book. And their was one part in the book, within the last few chapters that really, really bugged me, and in my opinion should have been left out of the book, because it turned me off the whole story. I won’t explain what it is, to ensure not to spoil it, but I’m sure those who’ve read it would probably know what I mean. I think it was in chapter 22 actually, but I’m not sure. And finally, the ending just seemed to - “and we all lived happily ever”/everything is tied up into a perfect little bow. Not that happy endings are a bad thing but, everything just fit too perfectly in the end, and I wish the author took a different approach to how it all played out. Overall it is a good story, a shocking and creepy beginning but, a good story of how those who are left behind deal with the grief of losing a loved one.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend the book to read, but perhaps to select people. I think it's a book where some people would get fed up with the writing style quickly (particularly the descriptions), and the book does deal with some ... unpleasant content, that I know a lot of people want to avoid (and I can't blame them), but the book is well written in how it portrays what happens to those left behind, and how to move on in life, so I think a lot of readers can appreciate that side of it.

What to read next: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, My Sister's Keeper

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 2010 Count Down Challenge, Dewey's Reading Challenge,
Fall into Reading Challenge, YA Reading Challenge


  1. This is one of those books that I simply can't make myself interested in.

  2. This sounds very beautiful. The movie is coming soon to the theatres and I really would like to read the book first. Thank you for your review. :)

  3. I read this after all the hype and I just hated it. Mostly because of what you talked about happening near the end. And because I hated what her family did. And because I hope(?) that my immediate family would have a very different reaction to this kind of event. I hope.

  4. I know the part that you were referring to, and I felt much the same as you did. I felt that it ruined the book for me, and I couldn't let it go. There were some very interesting aspects of the story and I did like it overall, but I sometimes felt that the writing was a bit patchy and that one part really stuck in my throat. Great review, very thoughtful.

  5. I have this on my TBR list!

  6. I know exactly which part you didn't like -- I didn't either!! Overall, I think I'm with you: it was an okay book but not a favorite or one I'd recommend.

  7. If you are speaking of the part of the book I believe you are speaking of, then I couldn't agree more. The first part of this book was so good - sad, shocking, hopeful - that the end was a little bit of a let down. Overall, I did like the book and am glad that I finally read it. Great review.