Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Lovely Bones

Wow, was this a difficult book to start reading.

I've had Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones for a really long time.  I think I bought it just before the movie came out (which was 2009) because I'd heard the book was good and wanted to read it first.  I don't remember what exactly I was up to (but school...) but I do remember lending it to my mom to read with the intention of reading it soon after.  That clearly didn't happen since it's now 2017 and I finally got around to reading it now.  Unfortunately my mom doesn't really remember the book at all, so we weren't really able to talk about it. :/

The Lovely Bones opens with Suzie Salmon, our narrator, telling us about her death.  And wow is that a difficult chapter to read.  I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but not the rape of a fourteen-year old in a lot of detail.  She tells us that she is killed at the end of that, but that wasn't in any detail (until later when authorities tell her family they found her elbow- she was clearly gruesomely hacked to pieces).

I remember finishing that chapter being unsure of whether i would continue.  But I did, making it through a few more chapters before going out for the evening.  And not coming back to the book for most of the week because it was hard to convince myself to keep reading).

The Lovely Bones is about Suzie's family struggling to deal with her murder, which remains unsolved (other than her father's unshakable conviction that he knows who the killer is - he just can't prove it).  Her sister Lindsey must deal with everyone looking at her and seeing her dead sister. Her brother Buckley is too young so no one wants to tell him that Suzie isn't coming back.  Her mother, who never really wanted children, cannot deal with Suzie's loss and slowly slips away from the family, while Suzie's grandmother, who was always an independent and apart woman, comes closer, becoming an integral part of the family.  Ray, Suzie's crush and first kiss, must deal with the authorities blaming him (even though he is innocent).  And Ruth, a girl from school, saw Suzie's spirit fleeing the night she was killed; Ruth sounds crazy when she tells anyone about this. 

Once you get past Suzie's gruesome murder, The Lovely Bones is an excellent story about a family dealing with terrible grief, and how that grief can either pull them together or push them apart.  I actually liked how different people were either pulled or pushed.  But Suzie's rape and gruesome murder is very, very hard to get past (especially since Suzie does keep watch over her murderer quite a bit, too).  This is by no means a "fun" book to read, and I honestly don't think I would recommend it to anyone.   

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