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'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.'
This is the story of Susie Salmon, a 14 year old girl, who was sexually assaulted and murdered by her neighbour, on her way home from School. From her place in Heaven, Susie describes her ordeal to the reader and laments on the many things that she didn't have the chance to do. As she watches over her Family, she tries to find ways to point them in the direction of her killer.
Susie watches her family fall apart without her. As Susie's Father starts to suspect who the killer might be, the Police seem reluctant to follow his lead and he must try to find evidence by himself. With their Parents subdued, Susie's brother and sister must deal with her death in their own way, while Susie watches with despair. Meanwhile, Ruth Connors, a girl Susie went to School with, has developed a fascination with Susie, although she barely knew her. As Susie left the Earth, her spirit touched Ruth, and left a mark on her. Can Ruth help to uncover the mystery of Susie's Murder?
I cannot begin to explain how much I loved this book. I bought it a few years ago, after it was recommended to be by a friend, but I didn't get around to reading it until recently. I'm so glad I read this now. It's incredibly emotional, as you'd expect from a book about a murdered young girl. At times it was almost too sad to read, but in such a good way. This book made me feel joy and sadness at the same time. Joy, because it's such a beautiful story, and sadness, because the circumstances that Susie's family are in, are hardships that no family should have to endure.
I also thought this book was full of suspense, keeping me on a cliffhanger until the very end. Catching Susie's killer seems to be within reach at many points in this book, but there's always something getting in the way, and that kept the plot exciting and fresh. I've never read a book like this before, it's completely unique for me. The characters develop well throughout the story, coming to terms with Susie's death, and trying to move on with their lives without her. I particularly liked the character of Susie's younger sister, Lindsey. At just a year younger, Lindsey would have loved to be able to confide in Susie, about her feelings for Sam Heckler, her boyfriend. For me, Lindsey was one of the strongest characters throughout the book. While her parents are going through their own troubles, Lindsey manages to keep herself strong, while all the time being reminded of how much she looks like Susie.
This book was written by Alice Sebold, and was later made into a film. I haven't seen the film yet, but I plan to in the near future. Sebold has the ability to make her readers feel waves of emotion through every chapter, and I'll be reading more of her books very soon. This book is well written, powerful, and incredibly haunting.
I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to read an emotional story of love, loss, and regret.
I bought this book years ago - probably when it was getting promoted all the time and when it charted on the best seller list. I read about this book before I bought it and although I knew that this wasn't the usual kind of book that I went for then I still thought that I would like this book. I admit I did find this book hard to read as it didn't hold my imagine as much as what I though it would, but I still read this and I have watched the film of this too - which in true book to film fashion the book is always better than the film.
The book is about a girl called Suzie salmon. Suzie is 14 and her life seems normal. Her parents are loving, and her sister and Suzie although argue sometimes they still get on alright. Things are all ok.
1 day Suzie is coming home and she meets her neighbour Mr Harvey. Mr harvey seems to be a nice enough man. He seems friendly enough and seems to try hard to be friendly - perhaps a bit too hard and Suzie seems a bit wary of him. He is an older man - perhaps the same age as Suzie's dad or perhaps a little bit older. Suzie is cutting through a field that she often cuts through and Mr harvey invites her into his secret hidaway which is in the field. At first Suzie is wary, but you get the impression that she is trying to be polite and ends up going to see the hidaway to keep Mr harvey happy. Inside there is lots of things that would make children happy. Suzie gets a bit anxious as Mr Harvey seems to be getting closer to her and she says that she has to go away, but Mr Harvey has other plans. He rapes her, then murders her. Although you know what is happening, it doesn't come out and say it at this point in the book, but you are following the book from dead Suzie up above looking down on the world below.
The story is pretty touching and the way that Suzie tells the story is quite sweet and through the eyes of a young girl. You can tell that Suzie is trying to make sense of what happened, and although she misses being alive (obviously), you see her making connections with her family (and they seem to sense her as well. Suzie makes a friend in heaven and you read about them playing and acting like young teenagers.
This story is a well told story, and perhaps isn't as morbid as you may think it is. The author portrays the story well and you can feel some strong emotions through this book.
I would recommend this book. I won't read it again as I feel that once was enough and it is a slightly heavier story than I would normally read, but still 1 to read in my view.
I always like a book which prompts you to think and I would certainly describe this as such. It deals with the emotional and social impact of the death of Susie Salmon, who's murdered in a cornfield on the way home from school. The book cleverly shows several different perspectives without becoming too confusing or boring. It mostly shows our world where Susie's family must struggle on, finding a way to continue with their lives as normally as possible but not without a few hitches, it also focuses on the murderer himself which is particularly interesting as you get to see both sides of the coin, so to speak. Then there is also a world which isn't quite heaven but yet it certainly isn't the world of the living, which Susie now resides in, where pretty much whatever you wish for comes true.
I think that the last few pages of the novel are particularly poignant; I thought they were rather lovely in showing the meaning behind the title, it really wraps the book up nicely! Also, the whole idea that the dead are still with you and can talk to you even if you don't know that they are there is quite comforting if you've recently experienced some form of grief. I have certainly heard from others that this book has helped people cope with the death of loved ones.
Oh and I would definitely advise you to watch the film before the book rather than the other way around as the two are quite different!
With it getting towards the summer, I am always on the look out for a new book to read and almost always I will opt for something in the chick lit genre. However, I have heard so many good things about this book the lovely bones which is why I have always been intrigued to find out more. So many people have talked about it but yet I never really had any idea as to what it was about. It wasn't until my mother finished reading it and handed me her copy that it persuaded me to give this book ago, stepping out of my chick lit safety zone.
This book is quite bold on the front and has a fade light blue to dark blue background with the author's name in bold and a note of praise from 'The Times' on the cover, as well as it stating that this is a 'number one bestseller'. It then has a picture of a charm bracelet with one single charm on the front which as you read the book the cover will make much more sense to you than it did at first, obviously. The blurb on the back made me unsure with it talking about murder as I didn't want to read anything depressing but I can assure you it is more uplifting than anything.
On first reading this book, I was not sure of what to expect other than what I had read on the back but it did sound very different and I knew I was going to make myself finish it which was easier than I'd thought. The book starts right away which is what I love in a book to just cut to the plot and pull you in instantly. We are introduced to Susie Salmon, a smart young girl aged fourteen who is just beginning her teen years and is harmless but loves her family. The book is based in the early 1970s and right away we get to the part where Susie is walking home one day through the corn fields at the back of her home.
It all seems normal up until her neighbour Mr Harvey whom she knows of but who has always been a bit odd invites her to come into his home and play. She only took the short cut through the field being winter and it getting dark quicker. He had a sink hole which he had converted and being a young girl anything would lure her into explore. However, as soon as she gets into the hole, Mr Harvey soon changes his tone and reveals the real creep that he is. He tells Susie to remove her clothes and then rapes her but it does not end here as he cannot let her live once he has done this and so he murders her.
It is a very tragic beginning to a book, and was very shocking indeed and you cannot help but hate Mr Harvey completely. The book then follows on from this murder as Mr Harvey gets rid of all evidence and goes back to being just another neighbour living in the neighbourhood. As soon as news breaks out of Susie's murder we get a narrative viewpoint from Susie up in heaven. However Susie's heaven is what she imagines as everyone's is different and she watches her family from above and tells us the story as she watches them grieve over her death.
Susie plays us back over her life before dying, tells us of the boy she shared her first kiss with, her friends, her family. With Susie being in heaven she cannot go to the place she wants to to see her already passed away relatives as she is stuck watching those living on Earth until she gets answers that she needs to eternally rest. The plot goes very well on, taking us through her family and how they have managed to cope and how they get on.
She watches her mother fall apart and completely change, her father become distant from the mother as he is determined to frame the man who did this as he has a very strong inkling as to who it may be. Her younger brother Buckey has had to grow up with this all going on and is trying to understand it all still being very young and then Lindsey her younger sister she watches grow up and experience love and mature to a strong woman.
This book was just unputdownable from the moment I started reading it, the way it is written is beautifully done, descriptive but not too much so, you can really see things from Susie's point of view, the eyes of a fourteen year old girl who wants answers and can see everything going on but cannot do anything to stop them. You feel her pain and the language is just so well done that you feel quite a lot of emotion while reading this and you really get to learn a lot about the characters so much so, that you feel close to them.
To see from Susie's point of view how her death has affected the neighbourhood and affected her family majorly. To see things falling apart and to watch her evil killer live on Earth as if he has done nothing wrong and act so much when the police come round to throw him off the trail just really makes you hate him. Even the determination of her father is gripping and the closeness of the fathers relationship with the daughter Lindsey. The distance of the mother from the father is also quite sad as you get flashbacks to how they met and what they went through to present day.
I like that the book goes back and forward from past to present, always hearing from Susie little memories that crop up in relation to the current events. Also the way she lets us in telling us about Ray Singh the first and only boy she ever kissed, she makes us almost feel what she did and you feel quite sad just reading that even from one kiss the amount of feeling she expresses to us and the bond between the two is really warming and to even see her watching him from heaven and how he feels.
The wide character range in this book as well is what I found very intriguing. You have Abigal, Susie's mother and then her mother who comes to visit and is a very extreme character but actually brings some light heartedness. Even Lindsey becoming a teenager going through such relatable things, finding love, learning how to use make up etc it is just so down to earth but heart warming to read about and watch the development of the characters over the post muder period as they strive to get closure on who killed Susie.
Another, part I feel works well is the flashes from Susie being in heaven and how she feels there and how she talks about what her family are doing at the time as if trying to guide them to Mr Harvey. She makes herself present to them in the smallest of ways and they all feel her around which is very touching. It is a book about love, and closeness and a journey through life cut short but in a way still continuing on until answers are found and until Susie can escape being stuck with the living world once she has found what she needs to find.
The book is written perfectly so that it does not drag on too much as you hope at the start the plot will be written well so that it doesn't dwell too much on one event. The clever use of memories merged with present is what creates such familiarity with the Salmon's and makes you feel part of them with every page. It is written in such a way that you can see the rooms they are sat in, feel the emotions of the events being live and feel what the family feel with determination to get Mr Harvey found out.
Another crucial character is the detective working on the case Len Fenerman, he becomes a close friend to the family as he battles to try to help the family but being in his position cannot be too forthcoming without any true evidence. He is not just a detective but he unravels more as the story goes on and you also find Sebold makes him seems as human as the rest rather than a cold detective working on a murder case and this is a very strong talent the author has seemed to have grasped very successfully.
WOULD I RECOMMEND?
This is not your everyday kind of read but I fully recommend everyone to read The Lovely Bones. Although, it is a story based on the murder of a fourteen year old girl, it has more depth than this. It is a story giving us hope that after death it is not all dark and negative. This book displays this notion in the way it is conveyed and gives hope as well as turning a dark event into a story not just filled on depression and grievance but the general rolling on of life and changes made.
That is the main intelligence behind this book that a tragic event has been written to show a positive outlook and imaginative story that her choice of words are very delicate and perfectly chosen as if crafted by a genius. I read this book in one go and it is a book that leaves you thinking as it is not just a novel but a very moving read with an in depth message unlike no other.
This book can be purchased in all book shops, it has an RRP of £7.99 on mine but you can always get a cheap copy on eBay if you look around. Amazon.co.uk are selling this paperback edition for £4.47 which isn't bad with free delivery but there are cheap used copies on the market place too. Also, try your local library to see if they have anything available as then you can read it for free which is even better. It is a good book to have your own copy of though as you may just read it again.
I wouldn't exactly call it a summer read but even on a lazy Sunday if you have no plans just lie in bed and read this and I guarantee it will be the quickest Sunday you will have.
I do know this book was made into a film but have not yet seen it but am curious and will try to watch it. It actually has quite a good cast with Rachel Weez and Mark Wahlberg, so if anyone has seen it let me know if it is as good as the book. There is no official website for the book, only the film.
This review is of the book The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold first published in 2002. The book has since been made into a film, drawing big name actors such as Susan Sharandon, Rachel Weisz and Mark Wahlberg but as I have not seen the film, I cannot compare them.
The book captured my attention as although I like a mixture of books, I often prefer murder, mystery, thriller type books. The Lovely Bones though seemed to offer something slightly different, it is written from the perspective of a dead girl.
**THE STORY AND WHAT I THOUGHT OF THE BOOK**
The story starts with a young school girl named Susie Salmon who tells you within the first paragraph that she has been murdered and by the end of the first chapter you know who murdered her - Mr Harvey. At first I was a little surprised - where would the story go from here? I already know she's dead and who did it!
Susie proceeds to sit and tell her story from her child fun filled impression of heaven where from we are introduced to the family members.
Mr and Mrs Salmon - Susie's parents, Lindsay and Buckley - Susie's siblings and even Holiday the dog (they should have listened to the dog!)
Susie has, or had, what was a average happy American life living with her family in a nice neighbourhood and went to a nice school, until that fateful day. Susie wants to do more on earth, but being dead she can only watch as they carry on, or can she?
Sebold gives a detailed look into the family from the moment they find out about Susie's disappearance and long after her death. The story captures well how torn apart the family become, how some things regain the natural family role and how some broken things can never be fixed. I particularly like the way she separates them out allowing for a more in-depth glance at each member and how Susie's death affected them.
The readers are also introduced to significant others who run throughout the story line.
Len Fenerman - detective, Ray Singh and his mother - Ray is who may have become Susie's romantic interest, Samuel - Lindsay's boyfriend and Ruth - a girl from school.
The parts played by these character are integral to the story and really it fill out, allowing us to see another side to the family characters amidst there grief. Further on in the book it helps the reader to see how the characters develop beyond Susie's death, moving on with their own lives.
Sebold details the 1970's in which the story is set well from what I can gather (I am to young to remember that era personally!)
I really enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down at times, the only disappointing part for me was the end. The end didn't seem to fit the story in my opinion, it seemed like it had been rushed together.
Does the killer get his comeuppance? Does the family survive? Does Susie rest in peace?
Of course if I told you this it would ruin the story and you probably wouldn't read the book! But I felt that a lot more could have been made of the ending and would have made the book go from great to fantastic.
The film I have not watched and don't know if it tells the same story. Some reviews I have read of the film are disappointing and I think that is sad of what is a good book.
The book is available from Amazon priced at under £5.00 (some second hand as little as 1p! And Kindle for around £4.00
Review maybe posted on dooyoo and ciao under the same username
thought this was one of the best books I've ever read, really couldn't put it down, and had to put other things on hold just to sit and finish the book! Perfect if you like a bit of the supernatural but in a realistic story about a murdered girl who finds a way to alert her family to the murderer living amongst them. The characters were very believable particularly the murdered girl. The story comes from her perspective as a young school girl who is on the brink of discovering boys and becoming her own person, her anger at being taken from the world before she can experience life is one of the driving forces behind her determination to stop the killer and ensure he is punished. The story's climax is poignant as other victims are described. I thought this story was a sad reminder of the way our world is today. It is also interesting to those who believe in life after death, or that spirits are able to communicate with us if the bond they had with us is strong enough. Im not sure about all that but nevertheless the book to me was a triumph.
I have heard a lot of hype about this book, from both friends and reviews on the internet saying that it a very emotional book that had people crying throughout, not being an emotions-on-my-sleeve type of person I expected a little empathised sadness. So, I finally got round to getting it on BookMooch (a website for trading books).
The book starts of very dramatically with the main character "Susie Salmon" being raped and murdered by her neighbour, Mr Harvey (no I haven't ruined anything, this is explained in the first two chapters, there is no "who did it" suspense).
The rest of the book is narrated from her perspective in heaven as she watches her friends and family down on earth dealing with her death. In my opinion nothing exciting really happens; when my boyfriend asked me "What happened?" I said "A girl got raped and murdered". He asked me what else happened and I said "Nothing much, her sister gets engaged, her Dad has a couple of heart attacks and her killers disappears".
The end of the book has a little more drama to it when her friends go and see the sink hole (massive hole in the world) get sealed up and there is a little bit of "will the rest of her body be found?" anticipation.
The fact that a lot of friends love this book, friends who have similar taste in literature to myself, led me to have high expectations of this book. I was very disappointed, while the writing style made it an easy read, the plot between chapters 3 and 20 was dull for the most part.
A couple of my friends admitted to crying while reading this book, so I thought I might feel a little sad and empathise with the characters. However, due to the main action happening at the beginning, which gives the illusion of an interesting book, you don't actually feel anything for the Susie Salmon or her family because you don't have the chance to "get to know them".
I mentioned that the book was easy to read, but it was also written from an interesting angle. When the setting of heaven is written into books I usually cringe and the whole God and Angels aspect get my atheist back up a little.
However, this book was written as though her spirit was high above watching down and heaven was whatever she imagined it to be and if her imaginary heaven was the same as someone else's then they would cross paths. I quite enjoyed this dream-like angle of heaven as opposed to the more conventional religion-based heaven.
This book is over-hyped. I enjoyed the beginning and the end, but the middle was rather uneventful. The redeeming feature of this book is how heaven is portrayed, I found it refreshing.
I started this book a while ago now, about a year before the film came out. I gave up reading it but recently decided to finish it to review it. The reason I started it in the first place is because my mum recommended it to me. It was in her book case downstairs and as I was going through the book case looking for something to read she pointed this one out to me and said I would enjoy it.
I don't know why she thought I would enjoy this because it isn't my usual kind of book; normally I read things that have a bit more action or mystery in them, my favourite books are the Harry Potter series, which is nothing like this book. I prefer things that are a bit more exciting and not things like this which has a lot of family life in it and is quite sad. This book seems a bit more slow to get into, and I don't want to seem blunt but I did think it was quite boring.
I found this hard to get into and although I thought that in theory the story itself was a good idea and quite interesting, in practice it was slow starting and too boring.
Without giving too much away, the story is about a girl who is raped and killed, so she is dead, but somehow she is living although no one can see her and she can't communicate with anyone. She goes back to her home and watches how her family are coping with her death, and she goes to other places like her school to watch what the people she knew really thought of her and see how they react to her death.
I didn't like the way this was written because it was slow and not much actually happened. I had to force myself to read this every night because I felt like giving up with it and I wanted to read something else. Reading it felt a bit like a chore, because I made myself finish it so that I could write this review but if I'm not particularly glad I read this and after I was finished I didn't find myself thinking back about things that happened in it, I just kind of forgot about it and went on to reading something else straight away.
Although I didn't like this I have to say there are a lot of people I know who loved it so I will have to recommend trying it for yourself if you are really interested to know. I haven't seen it, but a film has been made based on the book. Because I didn't enjoy the book I'm not too interested in watching the film so I won't bother.
You might enjoy this, but I didn't.
I picked up this book because I thought that the storyline and narrative sounded like they would be compelling - I'll admit that in the end I didn't even manage to finish it, which is unusual for me.
The novel is narrated by the main character, Susie, a 14 year old girl who is murdered in the opening scenes of the book and continues to observe her family and the police investigation into her own death from her place in the afterlife / heaven.
My main problem with this book is that it didn't make me feel any sympathy whatsoever for any of the characters - which you would think would come as standard in a book about the murder of a child. But the novel seemed to focus more on describing the afterlife than on the murder itself, in fact the horror of it, apart from the actual scene where it occurs, was mostly glossed over.
The characters felt very one dimensional and I didn't think even the main character of Susie, let alone her family members, had enough depth to really make you feel the tragedy of her murder. It would have been nice to have had more reflection on her life before she died, her hopes and dreams for the future and so on rather than this sort of vague sitting around in the afterlife watching over everyone.
I got about three quarters of the way through and decided it was a waste of time since I couldn't care less whether they caught her killer or what happened to her family or what happened to Susie herself.
I also felt that at times the author was 'manipulating' the reader in a way - suddenly giving you a scene involving the family which was meant to make you feel upset. Since it was not backed up by any development of the characters it felt out of place and such cynical tugging at the heart-strings ('you will feel sad - NOW!') I found really patronising and off-putting.
Personally I would have liked a novel where the characters were all well developed enough to have good and bad points, even the killer, so that you felt that you were actually reading about human beings and not cardboard cut outs of 'good' and 'bad' guys.
It really depends on the sort of books you're into I guess though because some people have really enjoyed this novel or even been moved by it. I'll note that I thought it was quite similar to the novels of Jodi Picoult, where a strong storyline is presented which *should* provoke some emotion in the reader - but consistantly failed to do so with me due to poor characterisation and general lack of depth (in my opinion). So I would hazard a guess that if you enjoy Picoult's novels - then you'll likely enjoy this, otherwise I find it difficult to see any reason to recommend it.
The Lovely Bones
Our Dead Never Leave Us
Until I saw a preview of the film, I have to be honest that I had never even thought of buying this book. I knew I wanted to see the film, though knowing that there was a book I felt that I really wanted to read that first as more often than not, the book of a great film is spectacular. I was going to rent the book from the library though my local one had a very long waiting list - it seems everyone had my idea of reading it before they watched the film. On my way to Waterstones, I happen to pop into a second hand store and I found it sitting on the shelf for a tiny £0.99p! I snapped it up as the RRP is £7.99 and so I was saving a lot and figured if I didn't like it then I haven't lost anything. Turns out, I would not have minded paying more...
THE LOVELY BONES
It is always difficult not to give too much away in a synopsis of a book as if you are like me, you will hate a book being ruined before you have even bought it, so I will give away nothing apart from the basics as told from the back cover.
"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighbourhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertiliser."
The book is written from the first person point of view - in this case, Susie Salmon - a young girl who was murdered on her way home from school. She speaks from heaven, which looks a lot like her school playground. Everything Susie wants appears almost straight away except for the one thing she desires the most - to be back on Earth with those she loves.
As Susie watches, she follows her family go through the aftermath and turmoil of her death, isolated from one another in grief, all trying to cope with their loss in their own way. We not only see the turmoil of her family and friends, but also Susie herself going through various emotions. We all think that once a person is in Heaven, they would not feel loss or pain, though 'The Lovely Bones' shows a different side. As Susie watches her family move through the years, she realises how much she herself has lost.
It took to the second paragraph for me to fall right into the story. The story flows easily, though there is a lot of back-tracking at first with Susie's memories, though this is written so perfectly that we are able to know more about her and her family easily whilst catching up on the story before Susie was murdered. In some books, going back and forth within the story can be off putting, though this has a steady flow and understandable pace in which hooks you right in and enables you to follow the wavelength of Susie.
Almost immediately, we meet the main characters of the story, both Susie's family and friends and other characters such as the murderer. There is no mystery about who killed Susie, and the pain felt from her watching him interact with those she loved without them knowing what he did flies out of the pages and really hits home. The emotion from the very beginning is high and I would be surprised if there was one person who did not feel this emotion in some way or form. My emotion came mostly from both Susie's emotions and also the parents, being a mummy myself. As it is written so clearly and can be placed directly in the real world, these emotions are strengthened. I would certainly advice those who may have lost someone, especially a child in this terrible way (or any way really) to approach this book with caution.
Going back to the characters; I really felt as though I knew each and every one of these people. They felt so real to me, making their feelings ultimately real and emotional. We find out a lot about Susie, mainly as the story is written from her point of view, from her history to her inner thoughts and feelings and relationships to all the other characters. This character, although only fourteen when she died, has a much more mature outlook. Something that needs to be remembered when reading is that although Susie stays that fourteen year old girl in heaven, time on Earth flows a number of years (approximately ten without looking) so Susie's mind grows as time on Earth does - mainly her sister. We see her start to 'live' through her sister, realising what she has missed is not, in the end, the worst thing as she can see her little sister grow and experience the good and lovely side of life that she had not yet seen.
We probably learn more about her sister and father than any other character of her family as they team together to cope with their loss, leaning on one another as they search for the killer. This is not unusual in the book where relationships become the prime story. This whole book is about different relationships born after Susie's death - the lovely bones she calls it.
We also get a great insight into some of her friends, some of which did not actually know Susie properly until she died which is something I can relate to. One character in particular is such a well rounded character who has a special link with Susie after her death which leads to something spectacular later one. Something I never saw coming though fit so well into the story. Without the knowledge of the characters involved, it would not have worked so wonderfully. This can be said about the book as a whole. In some books, characters are over-written, though in this book we get just the right amount of details needed to sympathise and empathise and often relate to them and the story line. The strength of the characters pull the story forward, running alongside the flow and actual story at amazing pace.
By the time I reached the middle of the book, I was struggling to put it down at all. It captured both my mind and heart with every single page and although the book stretched years, it certainly did not feel like that as the flow was well timed and perfect in every single way.
The setting takes place mainly in two places; Susie's heaven and her family in their hometown. Later in the book as the children grow into adults, we see more of the world though only what Susie wants us to see - the important parts in her sisters life, her friends learning about the world around them and following her mother as she takes a drive.
These small changes in the book do not take us away from the main flow though are all prominent in the storyline. You begin to understand that everything which is said and done in the story leads to the final settling of both Susie and her family and friends. Everything is so well written and so simple that you can really see it happening in front of you. The author adds the right amount of spark with the right amount of information to keep the story rolling on with anticipation and emotion without being too overbearing.
The story is date stamped through the 1970's onwards. Although this may be an annoyance in some books, I found that within this story it is perfect as it helps you understand a lot of what happens which is different than today and also helps you follow the time frame easier. Yes, this could be achieved in other ways though the author chose this way and it works brilliantly. Don't get me wrong, you don't have the date stamped at the top of each chapter, but through Susie's words and via the aging of the 'children', you are able to follow the years alongside the occasional year stamp within conversation.
The language is calm and collected, and although simple to read, you do need some concentration as every little bit is needed for the story to completely make sense. Not only that, you wouldn't want to miss any of this.
This was one of those books where you are so eager to reach the end to see what will happen but also as you finish you feel slightly at a loss as to what to do next as all you keep thinking of is the story you have just read and want more of it. You begin to have your expectations and wants for the what should and should not happen at the end though what I felt I wanted to see happen throughout the whole book did not in fact happen though I was far from disappointed. The way the story grew and the characters progressed, I came to realise that what I wanted to happen before just would not sit right in the ending. It does leave it open to future thoughts (not a future book though) which in this case is not a bad thing. It was wrapped up extremely well and everything that, in the end, needed to happen did.
From start to finish, I absolutely loved this book. It is so moving and compelling and you just don't feel that you want to put it down. It is also very emotional, especially near the end, and may be too emotional for some people. I found myself near to tears at a couple of points. It took me less than 24 hours to read this book as I seriously could not put it down. It takes a terrible tragedy, one so close to home for some peoples lives, and turns it into something hopeful. It is certainly a book tht stays with you long after you finish the last page.
Do I recommend this book? Most certainly!
Susie Salmon was a high school student. 'Was' because she was brutally raped and murdered. Susie feels her spirit leave her body and go to heaven. The story is told by Susie from 'her heaven'. She explains that everyone's heaven is different depending on what kind of place they want to live, and she reveals to us what her heaven is like. The story follows Susie from heaven, watching out for her family and how they react to her murder, and also following the man that murdered her. We find out very early on who murdered Susie, and what happened to her body, but Susie's family are unaware who their daughter's killer is. Each member of the family is affected in different ways.
Jack, Susie's dad, is obviously distraught by his daughter's murder, but instead of grieving he is determined to bring Susie's murderers to justice, whatever the cost. He quickly fixates on one of their neighbours who is a social recluse, and wakes up every morning determined to bring the neighbour to justice, but also about trying to convince the police that he is the murderer.
Susie's mum, Abigail, finds it hard to cope with the loss of her eldest daughter, and quickly becomes upset with her husband, Jack for fixating on one of their neighbours as being the murderer. It all gets too much for Abigail, and she runs away from her youngest children (Lindsay and Buckley) and her husband to try and find some peace and solitude in her life. But, something happens that brings Abigail back to the family home, and we are then made to wonder if she can cope with being in the very place that is full of her daughter's memories.
Lindsay, Susie's sister, is also distraught with her older sisters death. Every time she goes to school the other children look at her as a victim not as a person, and this obviously distresses her. As Susie watches her sister from heaven, she is reminded of all the things she will never be able to do, like grow up, have a boyfriend, first sexual experience, marriage and children. Lindsay also starts to try and help her father to prove their neighbour's guilt.
Buckley was Susie's younger brother. He was very young when Susie died, but he was never able to forget her. Jack and Abigail keep saying that Susie has gone away, but soon he learns that Susie is not going to come back. Buckley tells his family and his best friend, Nate, that he can see and speak to Susie.
Holiday, the Salmon's pet dog, is very suspicious of their neighbour, and it is Holiday's actions that cause Jack to focus on their neighbour as the suspect.
Ray was Susie's geeky friend in school, and is the person that Susie first kissed. Ray becomes a suspect in the book, with Susie watching from above and trying to get the police to move their suspicions. Susie watches Ray as he moves into adulthood but is unable to forget about her. Susie wants to be able to go back to earth to have her first and last sexual encounter with Ray.
Ruth, a girl Susie knew from school, but wasn't friends with. When Susie died and her spirit left her body, she briefly touched Ruth as a spirit form. Ruth knew something had happened the day Susie died and tries to stay in contact with Susie after she has passed. There are many moments between Susie and Ruth throughout the book.
Even though I read a lot of murder books, and this is a book about murder, because it is written from the perspective of the murder victim from heaven, it is a kind of book that I have never read before. I thought that it might be a real tear-jerker, but even though it was emotional in some places, it didn't make me reach for the tissues. I hate crying over books so this was definitely a bonus for me!
My only gripe with the book is that it has really long chapters. I'm one of these people that can't finish reading for the night halfway through a chapter, I have to keep going until I have finished the chapter. This meant that I was reading a lot longer than normal just to reach the end of the chapter!
However, I still thoroughly enjoyed the book and I think it is suitable for a lot of people. Even though it is a murder book, it doesn't just fall under the 'murder' genre, but could be classed as many other genre's therefore suitable for a lot of avid readers. Now I have read the book, I am going to try and watch the film. I prefer it in that order!
Where to begin? I quite literally could not put this book down. The language is addictive and the story really grips you like a giant fist around the heart. In the first 20 pages you fall completely for the lead character and each page after that stretches your emotions to the edge. It is a book that is so easy to love, regardless of the way the actual theme of the story may sadden you.
I first searched for the book when the film came out, following my age-old rule of book before movie! It seems I can mentally cope with the idea of a film being spoiled by having read the book first but I could not cope with a book being ruined for me by a poor film. As soon as I opened the book, that was it, my life was over for at least three days! Work was left undone, dishes weren't washed and my delighted other half got free rein with his X-box! Alice Seabold grips you with the way she uses the English language to leave you constantly wanting more. Teasing you with morsels of information and then running off in a different direction to tease you with something new.
The story really lets you believe that lost loved ones are still around, watching over you, but at the same time Seabold is able to hold on the innocence of a child as Susie Salmon watches her old world grow and move on without her.
I haven't seen the film yet, but I hope it will do the book justice. If you have only seen the film, then I strongly recommend you give the book a try. You will dive in headfirst and not want to come up for air until you reach the end!
The Lovely Bones is a novel by Alice Sebold. I first heard of this book when the film was released. I'd seen the film in my local Cineworld, and thought it was great. My boyfriend bought me the book, which I couldn't wait to read.
I don't want to reveal too much in this review, and spoil it for you.
The story is told from the perspective of the main character, Susie Salmon. The first line of the book, gives you an idea what the book is about, 'my name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973'.
The story follows Susie leading up to her murder, and after. It focuses on her life, that or her family, friends and murderer. When she dies she enters a heaven like place, known as the inbetween. Here, she watches over her family for several years, watching her brother Buckley, and sister Lindsey grow up, and do the things she never got a chance to do. She finds it hard to let go of them, and they her. Over the years the family's dynamic changes as they find it difficult to accept that Susie is dead, and struggle to cope, especially her dad.
I've never been much of a reader, but this book gripped me. This is something that rarely happens to me. I couldn't put it down, and I didn't want to read it too fast. I wanted it to last forever. I would describe this book as magical, touching and despite it dealing with such a tough subject matter, is also very moving.
I love the fact that the novel focuses on such important subjects as life, death and love. Being a young woman, I can relate to Susie's tales of her younger years, and I can appreciate the older characters as well.
For me, seeing the film first helped me whilst reading the book. It allowed me to visualise the characters more easily. There are some differences in the book, compared to the film. The main one being the time span of the story, and there are other differences with regards to the murder and her mum's reactions to her death.
I would recommend everyone to read this book, particularly women. It is such a well told, beautiful story. I love it so much that I've bought one of her other novels, The Almost Moon. I can't wait to get started on it :)
The Lovely Bones is Alice Sebold's bestselling novel of 2002 and winner of the Richard & Judy book club award, which recently fell foul to a big, much publicised, movie adaptation. The novel is told by Susie Salmon a young girl in high school who is brutally raped and murdered before going to what she calls "her Heaven".
Whilst in her Heaven, Susie watches her friends and family and follows them throughout their daily lives and routines, heavily disrupted by her absence. As the reader we know from the beginning who Susie's murderer is but we watch the family troubles unfold as they endeavour to solve the mystery and uncover who did it.
We are introduced to her mother Abigail, her father Jack, her sister Lindsay and her young brother Buckley along with the family dog Holiday.
It is evident throughout the novel that Abigail is struggling to come to terms with the loss of her daughter, though bottles up her feelings eventually leading to her running away. Jack fails to cope, becoming fixated on a suspect and intent on proving he is right, trashing his study and channelling his energy into the search operation, whilst trying to raise his family. Lindsay is a young girl who Susie watches develop into a beautiful young women; a year younger and experiencing all the first times a young girl experiences. Susie feels Lindsay's experiences as is they were her own and relishes her sisters' life. Buckley is introduced to us as a young child who by the end of the book is a stroppy teenager fighting with his conscience and unable to control his feelings as he begins to understand the consequences his sister's death had on the family as a whole.
Later on in the book we are introduced to Grandma Lyn, Abigail's mother who is alcohol dependent and nothing like her daughter but takes the family under her wing.
There are three other key characters and many more fringe characters within the novel, as you would expect from any book. The key characters are Mr Harvey (Susie's killer), Ruth, a school girl who Susie experiences as she passes from the living to the dead and Ray Singh, Susie's school crush and first kiss.
I seek to make a comparison between the film adaptation and the novel with regards to the other characters in the novel. Ray and Ruth play a minimal role in the film, yet a large part of the book is dedicated to Susie watching their friendship grow, also in the novel whilst Susie watches over her sister and her family, the novel concentrates heavily on her sister's life as she grows up and forms her own relationship and family. In this sense I found the novel much more satisfying and fulfilling, providing enough information and detail to really envisage the scenes being described.
Ruth is a complex character who makes it her mission to detail the times she believes she has stepped on a place where someone died, and how their death occurred. She sees scenarios played out in her mind and becomes a hero in Susie's heaven as the deceased keep tabs on her to see if she identifies their own death. Whilst Ray is the would be doctor who will never forget Susie and seeks support from Ruth in what would appear a strange union. Dedicated to his mother and Susie, Ray's relationship with Ruth becomes firm and their trust goes beyond most friendships.
The novel is gripping and detailed. It draws the reader's attention and keeps it. I found the novel extremely well written, but because I had watched the film first I had a preconceived idea about how the book would read. This meant that my idea of the scenes were as portrayed in the film and I could only pictures the characters as those in the film. Personally this ruined by enjoyment of the book because I was increasingly disappointed with the film as I absorbed the details and descriptions thrown at me by Sebold.
She writes with passion and you can really relate to Susie as she captures her family's thoughts and feeling. I laughed and cried with her and found there were several times I couldn't put the book down. The chapters however were quite lengthy which made for some long bedtime reading with a few "dropped book" moments as I drifted off through sheer tiredness. But, despite that I would recommend reading this book and I would suggest if you get through books quite quickly, that you check out the charity shops or online auction sites.
Personally this is right up my street, but as I look online I have seen various essay questions based on this novel. I just wish they had given me something as interesting to study when I was at school.
Note to DooYoo: I struggled to find this in the search because the word "the" isn't in the listed title.
Also on Ciao under the same name
The Lovely Bones: Alice Sebold
== Introduction ==
I saw a trailer on TV a couple of weeks ago for the film which is based on this book, and when my mum told me it was a brilliant book, I couldn't help myself from going online and buying it from Amazon. I had never heard of it before even though it's first publishing was in 2002. As soon as the book hit my front door mat, I opened it up and started to read it.
On Amazon the book was classified with "If you like this you will also like: The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger", as I adored that book, and subsequently the film, I had very high expectations of The Lovely Bones.
The book is 328 pages long, and the front cover is a simple light blue fading into darker blue, like water, with a charm bracelet with one lone charm hanging off it, a small house. The title is in the centre in white, with a small review below it and then the authors name in orange at the bottom. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but this cover I think is very effective, it doesn't give anything at all about the book away, but is still enticing when on a shelf!
Other books by Alice Sebold:
== Plot ==
The story is about a 14-year-old girl in 1973. Susie Salmon, she was murdered by her strange but quiet neighbour on her way home from school one evening, enticing her into an underground dug out hole, where he raped and murdered her, before cutting up her body and taking her away to dispose of the body. (Don't worry I'm not spoiling the story with this information, it's written on the back of the book anyway!).
The story is told by Susie Salmon talking from her heaven, where everything is as she wants it to be, everything that is, but her family, who although she can see in their everyday lives, she can never again be with.
Her mother and father take the news of Susie's death hard, as most families would do, especially with no body found, only a field of blood a coke bottle and...an elbow. She also left behind a younger sister, Lindsay, who was 13 at the time of Susie's death and a 4 year old brother, Buckley. Her happy family fall apart at her death, their whole lives been disrupted, her happy parents who were so in love been torn with grief, and her murderer walking free.
Will her killer ever be caught, will Susie's family ever be able to lay Susie to rest? Will her body ever be discovered, and will Susie, after years of trying in her heaven, be able to let go and leave her heaven, leave her family behind to get on with the rest of their lives, and go onto "real" heaven? Somehow it all seems very unlikely.
== My opinion ==
The story is very disturbing, especially the first couple of chapters where Susie is describing her death in quite morbid detail, and I can imagine it been very upsetting for anybody who has a child of that age, the sad thing is, that this happens almost daily around the world to various young girls, by people who you would just never suspect. Right from the word go, we know who Susie's killer is, so this story isn't a cat and mouse chase of "who-done-it", we know right away who it was, we don't know why...and I don't think they know why either!
The story is about the families sorrow, of them trying to get through the grief and out the other side.
The story is written very well, and although some parts of the first few chapters can be very morbid, it is written so well that instead of been disgusted, your saddened that this is happening to the girl, we know her feelings, what was going through her head when it was happening, and this takes the gore away from what is happening, and just makes it very tragic and very sad.
The Lovely Bones is absolutely brilliant, the story, the characters, the way it is written is all fantastically done, and you will find you cannot put the book down, even if you want to! You know where the killer is, and you just want to reach into the pages and drag them out and pass them onto the police! Although quite supernatural in a way, in that the story is told essentially from a ghost, it doesn't feel like that at all, and we do kind of forget that the girl who is narrating the story is the girl everybody in the book is grieving.
The story barely leaves two places: the family home, and Susie's heaven, although there are brief stops at other places along the way, these are the two places where the story is centred and we become very accustomed to the home and to the heaven, which is very much like Susie's old school yard, which I found strange considering she wasn't all that happy in school- she didn't have many friends there- you would think her heaven would be based around her home where she grew up, where she misses most.
I am finding it quite hard to write a full opinion on the book without giving away any of the plot! A lot happens in the story, and it all happens quite quickly, although years are going by, it all happens within a couple of chapters, which makes it quite hard to say just HOW amazing this book really is, without giving the story away! And so, I am going to end my "opinion" here! All in all, the story is amazing, although a little disturbing at first, you do "get over" that, and rather than the murder "scenes" been sick and horrible, they're actually very different to that, they have an air about them which just makes it all incredibly sad- I would not let the murder "scenes" put you off this book- it is not gory or scary!
== Characters ==
Susie: is the main character of the book, she narrates and takes us through the story from start to finish, she is a very strong character and although she is only 14, she is wise beyond her years, we find it hard to believe that she was ever so juvenile and naïve enough to go into the hole with her murderer. She was also the rock of the family, the first born child, the one who held everything together, as her family soon discover when she dies.
Jack (father): misses Susie more than he could ever imagine possible, although he KNOWS who killed Susie- he just knows, he has no way of proving it, and everyone thinks he is crazy for suspecting such a quiet neighbour. After Susie dies, it is up to him to try and stop the rest of the family from falling apart completely, although he is grieving more than anyone, he needs to try and keep his head, even if it kills him in the process.
Abigail (mother): finds the death of her daughter difficult to stand, she saw her first born daughter as the only thing which kept her and her husband together all those 14 years ago, without Susie's birth they would never have gotten so far, and now without her, she isn't so sure she can go on living a "happy" family life.
Lindsay: misses her big sister, but misses her OWN identity more, whenever anybody looks at her now, all they see is "the murdered girls sister", rather than Lindsay Salmon. She believes her fathers notions of who murdered her sister, and she is determined to prove it. She was only young when her sister died, but as she passes through the milestones of life, she always thinks of Susie and what she could have achieved in life, she isn't so "open" about her grief, she just wants to live her life, just because one girl died, it doesn't mean everyone should stop living their lives, is how she sees it.
Buckley: Although only 4 years old when his sister died, he is the one who remembers her in the nicest way, when she died, he didn't understand, of course he didn't a 4 year old doesn't understand the evil of murder. And so he can still keep a happy memory of his big sister, the one who looked out for him, the one who would watch him play in the garden with his friend and run to save him when he got hurt. Buckley sees Susie everywhere, and is the only one of the family who sees her properly from her heaven, he misses her, but he remembers her in a nice way, and doesn't see a chopped up corpse when he remembers her.
Ray Singh: a young boy affected badly by the death of the girl he was in love with, only a couple of days before she was murdered, they had shared their first kiss in the school corridor and now, she was gone, and he was number 1 suspect, especially when they found a love note he had written to Susie in a birds nest above the murder site.
Rachel: was the girl who Susie knocked through when she had died and was on her way to heaven, Rachel saw her that night, and ever since has been obsessed with her, and her death, going every year to the spot she was murdered and lighting a candle, she didn't know Susie, but she was touched by her death in a way nobody else could imagine.
This book gets a huge 10 out of 10 on every level, a definite must read for any fan of books like "The Time Traveller's wife" and "Twilight". An amazing book...I shall be going to the cinema to see if the film lives up to it soon!