The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (DNF)

Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Date Added: September 23, 2012
Date Started: March 24, 2018
Date DNF: March 24, 2018
Reading Duration: 1 day
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Supernatural

The Lovely BonesPages: 328
Publication Date: July 3, 2002
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Media: Paperback


The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

Sebold creates a heaven that’s calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive — and then some. But Susie isn’t ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. To her great credit, Sebold has shaped one of the most loving and sympathetic fathers in contemporary literature.


I bought this to read with the hopes the end of the book wasn’t the same as the ending of the movie, that the filmmakers took some strange liberties and Sebold did write a comeuppance for the piece of shit pedophile-murderer who lured Susie to her assault and death.

NOPE in large red letters with a red rectangle around the wordHim dying at the end from a random piece of ice falling off as he attempts to lure another young woman isn’t the point.  No one ever discovers it was him who raped and killed Susie Salmon.  Her parents never find out what happened to her, and that’s just not justice to me.  He never has to face up to what he did, and I suppose a counterpoint to this would be that if there’s a Heaven in Sebold’s world for Susie then there’s certainly a Hell for her killer.

Gif of a dancing brown bear with caption Don't care I'm a bear.Even if it was “street” justice with Susie’s father or mother beating the ever-loving shit out of him and/or to death, it would’ve been better than him just dying randomly after getting away with her and potentially other murders.

Fuck.  That.

The novel’s writing is enchanting, and I disagree with the killjoys bashing Sebold’s descriptive language.  If you don’t like purple prose and eloquence, recognize your preference and move on.  I personally love the evocative imagery prosaic words can bring.

2.5 stars.

23 thoughts on “The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (DNF)

  1. I remember reading this book a long time ago. I, like you, was hoping that the sick fuck that raped and murdered that little girl would get his from one of the parents or a cop or ANYTHING other than what happened at the end. I thought the book was written excellently and those reviews on Goodreads are crazy for thinking otherwise. Just because something isn’t your style doesn’t mean the writing is garbage. Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right??? I was SO mad when I saw the movie, which honestly did the book justice, but I wanted that dude to be tortured and killed. I’m vindictive and I don’t care. I HATE when stories end and people don’t get their comeuppance. I’m all for realism and realistic stories, but I see that shit happen way too often in real life. At least have the bad guys get what’s coming to them in fiction 😡

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s what I’m saying! I didn’t have kids when I saw the movie. I actually saw the movie before I read the book and I agree it did the book justice, but if there’s one thing I wanted to be different in the movie it’s the ending. That dude should have been tortured and killed for all the crap he did in his life. I think the ending ruined the movie and book, but that’s just my opinion :). The fact that they actually made us emotional is a good thing though.

        Liked by 1 person

          • You’re totally not alone with that. I was legitimately pissed when nothing happened to the dude. I know shit like that happens in real life and real killers get away with stuff like that, but that doesn’t mean I want to see a bad ending in a movie or read one in a book.

            Liked by 1 person

            • That’s what fucking bugged me! It’s BECAUSE shit like that happens in real life. I don’t have a problem with sad endings or bittersweet endings, but endings where there’s no justice pisses me off. Granted though I loved the ending of Valiant Hearts even though it was so unjust, but that was a major theme in the game because war is majorly unjust. The Lovely Bones enraged me because that kind of thing happens all the time in the real world and fiction can flip that script. I always make sure rapists and abusers get their due in my stories because I can’t make it happen in the real world, but I sure as hell do it in my writing.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I can cope with a bad ending. I did with FF15 (that shit had me tearing up), but Lovely Bones gave us a non ending. It didn’t end in a good or bad way. There was no justice for the families involved and the dude got away with it. It was the worst way it could end. I like to keep my readers guessing on when something bad will happen to someone evil in my stories :). I’m a jerk like that lol.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Oh yeah. I don’t even consider that “bad” per se; it’s just not happy, but wtf was even the point of The Lovely Bones? Him dying that way with no resolution had no point. I mean if you want to show life is meaningless and justice doesn’t exist, we have reality for that!

                  Bahaha, I LOVE when people tell me I’m a monster >:)

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Exactly! We know life sucks. We don’t need a movie to reinforce that to us lol.

                    Being called a monster is one of the best compliments I can receive a writer. It means I’m doing my job by making you feel things :).

                    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The State of the Writer: 12/16/18 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

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