The Lovely Bones

ISBN: 159413023X
ISBN 13: 9781594130236
By: Alice Sebold

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About this book

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 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 her loss, her sister hardening herself in an effort to stay strong, and her little brother trying to grasp the meaning of the word goneAnd 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 wants most: 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.

Reader's Thoughts

Emily May

After hearing all the hype about this book, I couldn't wait to read it and discover how amazing it is for myself. I was greatly disappointed.How has this book become such a worldwide success? It's slow, boring and there is no real connection with any of the characters. I found myself disliking everyone in the book.The overall idea could have been very good, even though it isn't exactly original, but I just thought the author didn't make the most of this great idea that she had. The best part of the book, without meaning to sound gruesome and morbid, was the death scene at the beginning. I admit that it was creepy and well told, I read that and geared myself up for a good book. But for me, it was as if the story ended there and the rest was a load of slow-moving waffle. The great idea had come along, happened for a while, and then died a painful death with the protagonist. The characters weren't interesting enough to hold up the rest of the story, I was just relieved when I finally got to the end. It was a painfully boring book... and I've lost count of the times people have told me how much they love it - why? Did I miss something? I honestly feel like I've read a completely different book from everyone else... I do not understand it's popularity at all.


Haaaaaated it. I am one of those OCD literary nerds who takes on a war bunker mentality with books that I've started and dislike: "I will see this through to the end." For "The Lovely Bones," I made an exception.Somewhere, sometime, someone told Sebold she could write. That person should be made to apologize to me, in person, and to all other poor souls who were duped into buying this shlock. The literary press also needs to break out the cattails for a serious bout of flogging. Lev Grossman of Time Magazine is at the top of my flogging docket; he called this book "a beautiful, sensitive, melancholy novel" and repeated that claim a year later in a review for a book called "The Dogs of Babel" (a book just as terrible as The Lovely Bones). I can only assume that Mr. Grossman confined his reading to the zeros on the check accompanying the publisher's blurb or else has some sort of vitamin deficiency that causes his brain to process ham-handed tripe as "beautiful" art.It was Mr. Grossman's review along with the alluring premise of the novel (a young girl posthumously tries to make sense of the events that led to her death) that led me to order "The Lovely Bones" and "The Dogs of Babel," which at the time were only available in hardcover. Financial reasons made this an extremely uncommon practice for me, and my experience reading both of those novels ensured that I would never do so again.To further illustrate how absolutely wretched this novel is, I'm going to provide a paragraph of background. The "substance" of the novel will be criticized in the subsequent body of this review.During the summer of 2003, I was occupying space as an intern at a company that accepted me at the last minute and had nothing for me to do. The company was white-collar and behemoth in office space. HR sent me to an deserted floor to file documents that took up, at most, 2 hours of my 8-hour day. Even in this vacuum of monotony, I could not finish this book. I chose to watch paint chip away, and pick up dust bunnies with recycled paper (I didn't have a broom) rather than finish this book.So with that said, I suppose I should actually mention something specific about the book I hated. My caveat here is that I am unwilling to punish myself by picking through a copy of the book for textual examples. I'm going by memory and online synopses alone.The narrator and victim is "Susie Salmon." Let me stop there. SUSIE SALMON. That really should have clued me in, but I was too eager to see how the author would represent the afterlife, to catch a glimpse of this beautiful pain of looking a life that goes on without you.Unfortunately, Sebold managed to bleach out anything remotely interesting out of the plot in spectacular fashion. Heaven is a school, you see, not that Susie spends much time there or learns anything. Her rapist and murderer is a creepy loser while somehow being the dullest of all of Sebold's numerous dull characters. The "reason" for his murderous tendencies could be guessed by anyone who's ever even heard of a pop psychology book.You'd think her family would at least be interesting in grief, but Sebold reduces them to one note drones. Everything in The Lovely Bones is a gimmick, played cheaply for sentiment and with no other reward. I'd compare to a Hallmark movie, but Hallmark movies do not adopt the pretension that Sebold belabors with terrible pseudo-post-modernist metaphors. All of this would be bad enough, but what made me throw this book "aside with great force" is the offensive, and unjustifiable resolution to Susie's laments that she did not get to live. This unfairness, although poorly developed, was at least a cause of sympathy until Susie decides to forcibly correct it at the expense of others. In the hands of someone else, this last turn could've been bleak insight into motivations of the cycle of victimization but Sebold conveys not one iota of ambivalence.Much of my hatred of this novel results from its inexplicable popularity and commendation from people who have a responsibility to promote reading. I shudder to think who else picked up this novel convinced it was the best that the contemporary literary world had to offer. It is not my intention to slam those who enjoyed this book. If you did, I am glad to hear it. I love books, and I want others to love books. I simply fear that someone who is tempted out of a long vacation from reading might pick up a novel like this and give up the cause for lost.


This was the book that made me realise the serious flaw in the theory that if lots of people you see on the tube are reading a book, it must be good. I would say with some confidence that this is the worst book I've ever read in my entire life.The only thing that kept me going to the end was sheer bloody-mindedness; a determination not to be defeated by any book no matter how brain-deflatingly awful it is. That said, the endless cloying sentimentality in this almost made me throw it in the bin on several occasions, and it contains the single worst simile I've ever encountered in an entire lifetime of book-reading.


** spoiler alert ** Two-dimensional stereotyped characters-Mother – living with the regret of losing her independence to the demands of childrearing. The tragic loss of a daughter accelerates her departure from those heavy burdens and into the arms of the detective working the case.-Father – obsessed to the point that he neglects the living members of his family destroying his relationship with his wife. Only in her absence is he able to fall in love with her “all over again”.-Detective – his ‘sob-story’ past (wife committed suicide) explains his devotion to make sense of senseless death by solving cases of murdered women. This leads him into the arms of the latest victim’s mother (who, incidentally, reminds him of his dead wife - eww).-Mrs. Singh – the exotic, wise, independent, and strong foreigner who calmly dispenses cool sage-like personal advice to near-strangers.-George Harvey – the ‘odd-but-harmless neighbor’ otherwise know as the psychotic pedophile/murderer who builds dollhouses in his spare time. Queue soundtrack with mangled version of a nursery rhyme transposed to a minor key ungainly lobbed from a detuned piano. Snippets from his mildly troubling childhood are revealed…explaining nothing.-Grandma Lynn – the often drunk but all-knowing grandmother with a ‘wacky’ liberal perspective on life.-I could go on…the youngest sibling who sees the ghost of Susie as his imaginary friend, the sister who struggles to become her own person from under the shadow of her dead sister, her boyfriend as the complete antithesis to the evil Mr. Harvey, her boyfriend’s older brother as the macho gear-head with a heart of gold.The NarrativeThere is only the occasional passage where the narrator’s voice sounds like that a teenage girl from the mid-seventies (“Lindsay had a boy in the kitchen!” – oh the giddiness of it all!). Small blessings. Cliché after cliché. If you haven’t already gotten a sense of the hackneyed construction of this book please re-read the first page of this rant. Only a sportscaster from some small-town cable station would stand a fighting chance of besting Sebold in a contest of cliché slinging.The EndingWorthy of Hallmark. Every loose end is tied up with nobody owning up to the consequences of their actions (with the exception of Mr. Harvey, because he’s bad, you see). The family is reunited, the murderer is murdered, the daughter marries her high school sweetheart and has a child of her own (thus proving that life does go on…sniff), and lastly, the teenaged ghost of murdered Susie Salmon transcends her personal minor heaven (a staging ground for spirits who persistently cling to the living world) by ‘falling’ back to earth, inhabiting the now 20-something body of a lesbian acquaintance in order to trespass into another person’s home and have sex with the now 20-something boy she had a crush on shortly before her murder. The moral? Only after wilfully experiencing the delightful carnal pleasures of the flesh can one, even the spirit of a murdered teenaged girl, let go of those lost earthly pleasures and move on to a higher and presumably more enlightened plane of existence where you are free to smite those that have wronged you. Touching, really.The Lovely Bones reviews-Why do they always say “brutal” murder or “brutal” rape? Is that opposed to the “wonderful” murders and “superb” rapes in other novels?-Did any of these reviewers even read the book?! They just seem to be reading each other’s reviews, praising the unique first person narrative of a protagonist in heaven and how it deals with such a horrifying topic. The fist person perspective does not offer anything new and the only thing horrifying here is that people consume mind-numbing garbage like this at an alarming rate.-There’s nothing new here. What was the point? Aside from, paranormal sex is a wonderfully liberating experience for both the possessive-spiri


In a nutshell: overrated; questionable characterisation; breathtakingly ridiculous ending.The Lovely Bones is a story about a murdered teenage girl, told from the point of view of said girl - Susie Salmon - as she watches over her loved ones from heaven. So, obviously, it's constantly trying to pull at the heartstrings from page one. In this, it occasionally succeeds - while much of it is a little too schmaltzy, there are some genuinely touching moments too. Given the book's ubiquity and popularity, I thought it might be really trashy, but it in fact the writing isn't that bad, despite the over-enthusiastic use of metaphors and similes. The narrative paints a believable picture of a family falling apart after the loss of a child, and the glimpses of Susie's heaven are intriguing, if disappointingly brief (I wish this element had been explored further). However, I had issues with a lot of the characters. Ray and Ruth, for example. Would two teenagers - one a boy who'd kissed Susie once, one a girl who'd barely spoken to her - really find it so hard to forget her and move on, for so many years afterwards? Though the narrative doesn't detail everything that happens to them, it's implied that Ray in particular (despite apparently being incredibly attractive) never has any kind of romantic involvement with another girl as a result of his continuing preoccupation with the memory of Susie. How convenient, since she's 'watching over' him and the reader is almost encouraged to see him as 'belonging' to her. Similarly, the actions of some of Susie's family (particularly her mother) are difficult to understand. I can well believe that the murder of one daughter would lead a mother to become depressed, alienated from her husband and other children, and ultimately to desert her remaining family - but nothing Abigail does, apart from a cursory affair with one of the policemen investigating Susie's death, is actually explained from her point of view. When she leaves her family, the decision just seems completely baffling - it's one of those 'hang on a minute, what?!' moments because you just don't get inside Abigail's head enough to understand her private motivations.Sebold makes some attempts to flesh out and humanise Mr. Harvey, Susie's murderer, detailing his efforts to restrain himself from committing his crimes; for example, killing neighbourhood pets in a vain attempt to restrain his appetite for attacking young girls. (The ghostly Susie can, it seems, read minds and know every detail of past events she wasn't involved in; again, very convenient, and there's no explanation of how she comes to realise she has this 'power', or how she masters it.) However, the character is such a cliché in the first place (creepy loner, obsessed with his mother, has weird hobbies) that in the end he seems like neither a monster nor a believable human being, but just a strangely indistinct and nondescript character given that he's a serial killer. It's also very frustrating that he's never caught or given his comeuppance. Finally, there's the ending. What to say about the ending?! If you've read the book (unless you loved it, of course), you'll probably know what I mean. If you haven't, all I'll say is that something happens that's so utterly ludicrous that deus ex machina doesn't even begin to cover it. Not only that, but the apparent message of this conclusion, and the moral implications for the (living) characters involved, are extremely dubious at best. Having wavered between thinking this book was kind-of-good and kind-of-bad throughout, the ending pushed my opinion firmly into the negative category and ruined many of the positives for me. Sorry to say it, but this is the kind of book that people who normally read nothing but chick-lit will find really PROFOUND and MOVING, which I'd imagine is why it sold so many copies. If you don't fit that description, I think it's best avoided. Have a look at the top-rated reviews on Goodreads; they're predominantly negative, and I agree with a lot of what they say.


Wow. I'm surprised that there was so much animosity towards this book (from the reviews here on Good Reads). Even if I didn't like it, I don't think I'd find so much in it to HATE it. The approach is different, which some might call trite or some call imaginative. I think I just liked Susie. She spoke what was on her mind, the perspective was fresh and the subject wasn't typical. Maybe this was a product of hype? I hadn't heard of it until a few friends recommended it to me last week. It took me a few hours to read and I enjoyed it. I won't rave on it, but I appreciate a good story.


"These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections – sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at a great cost, but often magnificent – that happened after I was gone."I hardly ever read books when they are first released. I always seem to be a few years behind, for whatever reason. Sometimes this works to my advantage, as it allows me to avoid a degree of hype that surrounds certain books. I do remember seeing the blue cover of The Lovely Bones on shelves in every bookstore when it was released a few years ago and seeing mentions on best-sellers lists. But I didn’t take much interest in it because, sometimes, when a book/movie/album gets so many rave reviews, I’ll expect it to blow me through the roof and will end up disappointed when it’s only mildly entertaining or moving (see: The Time Traveler’s Wife).I prefer to go in with low expectations and let myself be surprised with greatness. Not that I’m a bitter person or anything. Not at all. Ok, I’m working on it.Anyway, I was visiting my tiny local library for the first time, searching for a book to check out, when I saw the blue spine peaking out from the shelf. Since I had already read the few classics they had in stock, and don’t really go for Harlequin romance, I took Alice Sebold home with me. Much to my surprise, I finished the book in a day’s time. It wasn’t so much Sebold’s writing style, which is good but not spectacular, or even the tinges of mystery in the plot that captivated me. It was the raw human emotion that she so perfectly conveyed through each character. The characters felt real—both their positive qualities and their shortcomings. The pain, confusion, regret, and maybe even hope that they each felt in their own ways really impacted me. The Lovely Bones is the story of a young girl who is raped and murdered in her neighborhood. She speaks to the reader from her version of heaven (it can be different for each person), and looks over her family as they unravel after the tragic event. Perhaps it had something to do with my already delicate state (I was home sick while reading) but the book managed to make me cry. More than once. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that, and the book snob in me would prefer to believe I am “above” sentimental plot devices, but to be honest—the book is just really sad.I also liked the subtle message of hope that carries through the novel, without reading like a “Chicken Soup” book. The ending isn’t the overly hokey “I will survive” type, and still has a shade of melancholy, but seems to say that even through utter grief and personal devastation, life goes on.


The Lovely Bones has got to be the most baffling, poorly written, jaw-droppingly bad book that I have ever set my eyes on. It is truly a black, black tragedy that the words in this book were placed in that particular order, published, and distributed. How could this have ever possibly been popular? Is it for the same reason that the song “My Humps” hit number one? I mean, I don’t technically believe in burning books, but this novel really got me thinking. About burning it.If it serves any use at all, it might be a perfect guide on how not to write a book. Here are some of my gripes, problems and issues that we can hopefully use to prevent something like this from ever happening again to us, our children, or our children’s children:It is filled with some of the worst sentence-level writing that I have ever encountered. From bad description to horrible grammar to utterly confusing metaphors, Sebold covered it all. A tell-tale way to spot a weak writer? They can’t stop weirdly describing people’s eyes. Don’t believe me? Try this sentence: “Her eyes were like flint and flower petals.” Or this one: “The tears came like a small relentless army approaching the front lines of her eyes. She asked for coffee and toast in a restaurant and buttered it with her tears.” Really? She buttered the coffee and toast with her tears? Or this one, this time about someone’s heart: “Her heart, like a recipe, was reduced.” What the hell?And here’s my favorite eye description in the book: “Her pupils dilated, pulsing in and out like small, ferocious olives.” That’s right. Ferocious olives. I’ve read MadLibs that make more sense than that.It seems to lack a plot. You know, that thing that books are supposed to have. I’ll never forget my first workshop with Brady Udall, in which he threw my story onto the table and said, “This isn’t a story, Sarah, it’s a situation.” And as much as I despaired when I got home, he was right. Sebold has the same problem: her book is a really long situation. A girl dies and watches her family from heaven. Okay. That’s nice. But what do the characters want? What drives the story forward? Nothing. The characters get older and keep bumping into each other. Things change, and things often do, but there is no forward movement and certainly no building of suspense.Since there’s no plot, the ending is just a bunch of weird stuff happening. I read the last thirty pages on the train this morning, and couldn’t stop a few outbursts: “Oh, no she didn’t!” I’d say, talking to Alice Sebold and her crazy ways. She is just plain bold when it comes to doing whatever she feels like, and she feels like doing the weirdest stuff ever. It’s not that I don’t want to write spoilers here, it’s that I can’t even explain to you what happened at the end of the book. And I bet she can’t either. I’m not exaggerating.Her characters never have interesting or complex thoughts. Not even the serial killer or the mother whose daughter was murdered. It seems that Sebold’s characters do one of two things: they laugh (which means they are happy) or cry (to butter their toast, somehow, when they are sad). As you might guess, there is a lot of laughing and crying in this book. When a character is confused, they laugh and cry at the same time. This also happens often.I feel a little better after venting. But I’m still deeply sad and angry. I feel like my own writing might have been permanently damaged by reading this book… like a couple of… ferocious… olives?


** spoiler alert ** I have no idea how so many people can love such a boring, pointless book. I don't read a lot of juggernaut pop-fiction, but at least with "DaVinci Code" I can see the appeal; this one's draw baffles me. Besides being uninteresting, there are two plot points that were just rancid:1. The mom suddenly deciding to return to her family when the dad has a heart attack.2. Susie possesses Ruth's body so she can fuck the med student. So if you die a virgin, God lets you back on Earth for a few hours to bang someone with another person's genitals, putting them at risk for an STD or unwanted pregnancy? What if you die as a toddler, do you still get to come back and fuck someone? Also, she says she doesn't want to go after her murderer while in the host, that's real fucking nice, Susie, the whole book's about you wishing you hadn't died and the strain it put on your family, and you'd rather take a dick in a bathtub then stop him from raping/killing more children. That's great. And that whole idea was a rip-off of the movie "Ghost," remember? If you're gonna plagiarize from a Patrick Swayze movie, please make it "Roadhouse."P.S. The real version of this book is called "Remember Me" by Christopher Pike which I read when I was ten.

Seth Hahne

** spoiler alert ** One book, two rapes. How's that for a bargain? (The book only advertises one.) Yuck.The book in question is Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. I'm not giving anything away by saying it's a book about a girl (the narrator) who was murdered. That's revealed in the book's second sentence. It's also not a big deal to let you know she was raped and murdered by a neighbour, George Harvey. That all is related pretty early on. What isn't revealed until maybe the last fifty pages is that the girl herself, Susie Salmon, becomes a rapist.Ideologically, I'm not certain which one is worse. I could be persuaded.But the way the book presents the two incidents is markedly different. One is revealed in low lights and has a horror edge to it. It's seen unilaterally as an evil, wicked deed. The other is the book's highlight, the moment at which the author breathes a sigh of relief and says that everything else made right. I suppose it makes sense; the narrator probably wouldn't see her actions for what they were. But in the end, both George and Susie deal with their childhood victimizations in that manner typical to the criminal genre these days.Both George and Susie had horrible things happen in their formative years that leave long-lasting scars. The only difference is that George Harvey lived and Susie Salmon died. Not that it makes much difference. Susie is as alive a character as George for the purposes of the story. They both want what they want and care little for the well-being of the women who get in their way. The difference is that George Harvey is portrayed as the villain he is, while little Susie Salmon is treated as a hero.Those who have read the book may not have even noticed Susie's complete abandonment of moral sense or care for the woman she violates. After all, she doesn't exactly couch things in those terms. So here it is, laid out for you.When Susie was alive, there was a boy who liked her, Ray. In the years after her death, Ray grows up to be, in the narrator's view, an attractive young man. She watches him and loves him. Somehow, events conspire to allow Susie to possess the body of Ruth, a friend of Ray's. Susie uses the opportunity to seduce Ray and they make love several times in the course of a few hours. And then Susie has to go back to heaven. Leaving Ruth, a victim of Susie's power over her body.Imagine that you're Ruth. You wake up. Naked. Probably a little tender. Used. In the back of some bike shop. With a man in the shower. That's what I call horror. Not only was she not conscious or aware for any of the immediately preceding events, but the guy who's been really her only friend in the world is now naked and telling her that he screwed her brains out while she was unconscious. And even if he doesn't tell her that, there's a very short rail of evidence and it all points to that conclusion. And now. She could be pregnant. She could be diseased.Yep. The crowning act of love on the part of the tale's heroine is little more than a petty, rapacious act of power over the helpless woman who got in her way. Good job Susie Salmon. You and George Harvey should get along nicely.p.s. even though I called it a spoiler, I think that Alice Sebold spoiled the book. Not me.


** spoiler alert ** This book could have easily fallen into the "same old, same old" category, but it didn't and that's why it's so good. There are certain things that I'm going to pick apart and point out that could be considered spoilers so this is your warning. Don't continue reading if you don't want to be spoiled. If you continue reading, don't bitch at me that I gave something away because I warned you. If you want to know in brief what I thought (because I know you so desperately value my opinion) here it is: beautifully written and unique novel with engaging, fully developed characters. Really, what more could you want in a novel?Okay, now down to the nitty gritty. At first I thought that this was going to be a sort of mystery novel. We know that Susie is dead, but I bet we're going to have to figure out who killed her and why! Nope. Straight off the bat Susie tells us who, what, when, where, why and how. Then I'm thinking, okay, so what's going to keep this novel going? In any other novel you pick up that has someone murdered you usually keep reading only to find out who, what, when, where, why and how. Now why am I reading this?Despite being curious about how heaven was going to be portrayed, it was the fact that I held the knowledge of Susie's death that none of the other characters held. It's the feeling of omniscience that kept me reading. So many times, along with Susie, I wanted to scream at characters, tell them to wake up! Tell them that Susie was still there, to not be sad. The novel ends up not being so plot driven as it is character driven. To have book being pushed along by characters is always a risky thing, but Sebold pulls it off beautifully.It's Susie watching them all that makes it so beautiful. She doesn't age as everyone else does. She watches her sister and can only grow up through her. She can only have experiences such as a serious boyfriend, finishing school, losing her virginity, through her sister. You feel pity for Susie during these moments. You know that she has been robbed, and you feel so angry about that.The only part that I found strange was when Susie suddenly becomes Ruth and has sex with Ray. It didn't seem to fit with the style of the novel and would have fit better in a fantasy style book or ghost story rather than what Sebold had been giving us the entire time. I wonder if Sebold didn't really know how to end it or she felt bad for Susie and wanted her to have that one moment for herself. As much as you want to give Susie that moment, I think it would have made the novel so much deeper and touching if she never got it. She's dead! She was murdered! Really, she'll never get that moment. How much more would that have meant to the reader? Of course you would be left feeling bad for Susie, but it's reality. The rest of the novel had been steeped in reality, why was this one part written to be not so?That was the only part that bothered me. Over all though, this novel was touching and an awesome read. I like books with a unique take on old stories... this is one of those. What happens when we know how the murder occured? What happens afterwards? Find out.

S C Tisdale

This is easily the worst book I've ever read in my entire life. SPOILER ALERT: She comes back from heaven to bang the guy she liked.If you like this book, then you hate literature. It's that simple. I'm not joking. Do not read this book.


The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold was an amazing book and well written. It’s about a teenage girl who is killed and stays on earth as a ghost to watch over her family. Portrayal of a 14 yr old as she matures as a ghost over the years is excellent. Description of heaven gave me a new perspective of how it might really be. I don’t generally like sad books, but this might be worth reading to those looking for something a little deeper with a storyline to keep you interested. She lives vicariously through her younger sister quite a bit, which is interesting since it isn’t really her life. Overall, I thought it was a good read. Don’t know if I liked it enough to recommend it, but it definitely wasn’t bad. I liked how it flowed from one thought to another even if that thought was about something that happened years ago and two seconds later we were back at the murder scene. I also think it’s worth comparing the book to the movie, which I rented immediately after finishing the book. Obviously the movie never contains everything from the book. Those people out there that look for the same experience in a movie that they received from the book will always be disappointed. It’s a different medium, therefore it will be expressed differently. Book is much more graphic that the movie. For example, in the movie, the girl gets her first kiss when she goes into the body of Ruth. In the book, when she goes into Ruth’s body she ends up staying for awhile and makes love to Ray quite a few times. In the book, also, it goes into some detail about her rape, whereas the movie glosses over this. These are just small differences. There are others. One thing I really enjoyed about the movie was the imagery they used to portray her heaven. Beautiful, something you can only get from a movie. I do wish some of the smaller details had been added such as her reunion with her dog and how he was one of the few that could see her when others couldn’t. But I love dogs and thought that added to the story. The book also went into great detail about Ruth and her ability to see how people died and how she journaled it. I wish they would have expanded on her character a bit. There were some small differences like the event that brought back the mother, but nothing significant enough to change the feel of the story. The biggest and probably only thing that really bothered me was the time difference. In the book, Suzie watched her family for years and years. For example, her sister graduated from college, got married and had a baby in the book, but in the movie, not as much time passed. For example, I noticed throughout the movie, they used lines read directly from the book to stay true to the story. Well, one they used at the end shouldn’t have been used, especially since they didn’t stay true to the time difference. I’ll quote it here, “You don’t notice the dead leaving when they really choose to leave you. You’re not meant to. At most you feel them as a whisper or the wave of a whisper undulating down.” Undulating is not a word that a 14 yr old uses. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard an adult use it. It’s a great word which has its uses in a literary text, but doesn’t make sense coming from a child. The Suzie in the book says this after years and years of observing her family and you’re not really sure how many years have passed, but it’s almost as she’s an adult in maturity with everything’s she’s went through. So it fit beautifully. However, in the movie, the time difference wasn’t there, and it seemed as if the story ended with the girl still being 14 yrs old. So the line didn’t fit. I guess not a big deal but it bothered me. Didn’t fit with the consistency of the story they were trying to show in the movie. In any case, both the book is worth reading and the movie worth watching for their own interpretations.


"The Lovely Bones," had me crying from start to finish. This book is extremely emotion packed. But this book was interestingly written because it's from the point of view from a girl who was murdered. The book starts like this: "My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973." Already you want to read it; right? You follow the life that this young girl once had as she tells you about the memories she had, the things she learned, and the people she loved. Susie also talks about her "heaven." In her heaven, Susie does not let her family and friends go. She follows them through the years, watching her younger sister Lindsey does everything that she would have done if she was alive. Susie can't let her family go, and they see her everywhere; in the valley where she was killed; in her fathers work room. It makes you value your family when you read about the devastation they were left with. I especially was sympathetic for her father. Through out the book you can see how difficult it was for him to realize and begin to let go of the fact that his first born had been killed. It's hard to imagine losing a child, but from reading this book I’ve begun to realize that it's a kind of sorrow that can only be felt by a parent. If you are in the mood for reading a depressing story then this book is definitely for you.The diction that Alice Sebold uses creates clear visuals in my head of what it was that Susie saw, and what she felt like being dead. You invision her family members and the environment that Susie had once been in. Another things that made me like this book so much was the fact that there were details that were used to help describe Susie that were also about me. A simple once was the fact that she was reading Othello in school. The use of details to develope the characters are very well done by Alice Sebold.


Why did this book get so much love? Maybe it's the same reason that child molestation/abduction/murder always shoots to the top of's list of most-read stories. America is fascinated with the subject matter. That's the only explanation I can think of. As has been said by other reviewers here, the book itself was atrociously written, with flat, stereotyped characters and is full of laugh-out-loud awful passages. I only finished it so that no one could pull the old "But it gets better..." on me. It does not. More generally, I'd also like to add: When people say, "I felt like I knew the characters in (insert title of any book here)," watch out. Sometimes it means that the author has created a strikingly believable character; but more often it means that the author has created a bunch of lifeless characters into whom your friend has pumped the authenticity of people whom they know.

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