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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Little 13 year old Susie Salmon is raped and killed by a neighbor. He dismembers her body. Only her elbow ever surfaces. She is the oldest daughter of Jack and Abigail Salmon. Lindsey is a year younger and little Buckley is only 4 yrs old when his oldest sister is murdered.

They lived in a suburb like hundreds of thousands throughout America in 1976. Much like my sisters and I did. We went through junior high and high school during the 1970's and lived in the middle income American split level suburban home. The family is a loving family and the girls have friends in school. But the murder of Susie is like an explosion ripping through the neighborhood and school. Susie watches from "her heaven" as everyone begins to build their life back. This rebuilding of a framework of relationships are the lovely bones.

Alice Sebold also grew up in the suburbs and was attacked and raped in college in 1981. She wrote about this in her book, Lucky. Then she started on Lovely Bones. It was published in 2002. From the beginning it was a hit, even making it as a selection for the Book Of The Month Club. It made the New York Times Bestseller's List. I remember when it came out and it's taken me this long to finally get it and read it. I made a mistake waiting so long. Knowing the movie was coming out, I wanted to read the book first so I put it at the top of my TBR (To Be Read) pile. Once I started I couldn't put it down. It's different, very lyrical, poetic. Haunting is a good word for it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Of course, I don't believe in Sebold's version of heaven. I believe in the Bible's version of heaven (although I believe that those who have gone on before are part of that great cloud of witnesses that watch us). But, using it as a literary tool, made the book that much more effective.

I loved the book, but I can't imagine how it will be as a movie. I don't know if I want to see the movie so as not to ruin my "book glow"! I could recommend this book for anyone over 16 yrs old. The rape and murder might be scary and graphic. A sexual scene later in the book may also be too graphic for younger teens.

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