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.

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

    • No it’s not badly written at all! I think the top review on Goodreads does nothing but complain about how the writing is complete garbage and it’s really just not the person’s style. People really have a hard time making the distinction between “This isn’t my style” and “This is terrible.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yeah I agee. the same happens when people say a book is bad because people don’t like the protagonist. I get a likeable character makes the book nicer to read, but an annoying character is not bad writing per se


  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.


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