Monday, March 30, 2015

the lovely bones The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold | Rating: ★★★★★

“Murderers are not monsters, they’re men. And that’s the most frightening thing about them. / These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections-sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent-that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.“

Years and years ago, I had almost overlooked The Lovely Bones, while book shopping after school. In fact, I had picked it up more than a few times and skimmed through it before setting it back and then repeating the process. I was very indecisive on whether or not the story was something worthy of my time and of course, often as a teenager, I had a superior attitude about whether or not I should like things that were popular.

(Yuck!)

The hype was undeniable and it followed us everywhere for a couple of years, as many of you will remember. And I’m glad I didn’t ignore it because not only is it colorful in its haunting flow, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Somehow, within a few chapters, The Lovely Bones captured by attention and I just knew it would go on to become one of my favorite books.


This was an unexpected surprise for me.

But the thing is: Alice Sebold has a horribly frightening and still intriguing way of writing that you will fall in love with its beauty and horrors and have chills up and down your spine by the realistic and terrifying tone it so often takes. She definitely knows how to frighten and even more, she knows how to write a vivid story that will come to life before your eyes.

There’s nothing cheap or unrealistic about the story, except perhaps the idea of an afterlife/heaven, depending on who you ask. For me, personally, the idea that heaven is what the person makes it was particularly intriguing.

But it’s important to remember it is fiction.

The Lovely Bones is truly a gift and I stand by that statement years later. Honestly, out of many of my favorite books in my teens, this story is one that I still love and not in a nostalgic way. I was hooked from the moment the story opened; a young narrator from beyond the grave watching as life goes on after she is abused and then murdered by a neighbor.

It isn’t for everyone, though, because in all its thoughtfulness it does feature many triggers. Rape, murder and so on. This isn’t something that can be ignored as it ties into the web of plots. And it can get unfortunately graphic at times. Therefore, you should not put yourself in the situation of reading it if these topics can be harmful to your well being.

That being said, the story is told in flashbacks and memories of Susie Salmon. Susie takes us through it all: her refreshingly teenage minds take on the past and then, of course, that dreadful afternoon that would be her end. We listen as she watches her family and friends, the boy she liked, a girl she knew and the man who killed her.

Alice Sebold does an excellent job at painting this picture clearly for us readers. Her approach is clean and thought provoking as the narrator and her family comes to terms with her death; up until the downfall of the murder, who’s brought to justice in a way that is a letdown but still fulfilling. We watch as the narrator grows and continues to watch over the people she loves; even after she has moved on.

It’s a beautiful and upsetting story, but I would recommend it to anyone who isn’t sensitive to the topics within.

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