Book Review: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

“My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered.”
― Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold has a number of good reviews online. I became interested in the book after reading reviews that compared it to Room by Emma Donoghue.  I can’t even explain  how excited I was when I stumbled upon a copy of the book at the library at my workplace.

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The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is narrated by a 14 year old girl who was raped and murdered. Susie is now in heaven  where she is watching events unfold on earth as people try to move on after her death. The book starts out really well and I was hooked right from the first page. Susie has such a strong and compelling voice as a posthumous narrator. I held my breath whenever she talked of Mr. Harvey who killed her and her family’s attempts to get justice for her. I kept hoping that the killer gets caught. My heart also broke for Susie whose life was cut short at such a young age before she had a chance to really experience life. It was heartbreaking to read about her longing as she watched the boy who once kissed her. It was also sad to read about how she was struggling with letting go of her family especially when she watched them struggle with their grief over losing her.

“When the dead are done with the living, the living can go on to other things,” Franny said. “What about the dead?” I asked. “Where do we go?”
― Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

I loved the description of heaven whereby everyone has their own heaven which matches exactly what they want. It got me thinking about life after death and what heaven is like. I also loved the narration whereby being in heaven, Susie was able to observe different character’s lives and thoughts and so as readers, we found out what was happening immediately she saw something.

“His love for my mother wasn’t about looking back and loving something that would never change. It was about loving my mother for everything — for her brokenness and her fleeing, for her being there right then in that moment before the sun rose and the hospital staff came in. It was about touching that hair with the side of his fingertip, and knowing yet plumbing fearlessly the depths of her ocean eyes.”
― Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

At some point, I felt as if the story was way dragged out. There were pages that I rushed through, trying to see if anything was happening. Maybe this came from wanting to see if the killer ever got caught but whatever it was, I grew impatient reading through some sections of the book.

Apart from that, I enjoyed The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. The author took a number of risks that paid off. For instance; the narrator is killed right at the start of the narration. The identity of the killer is then revealed just as fast. However, this does not take away the suspense. The book was also quite moving; it made me think about life after death and especially about what happens to those who are no longer on earth with us.Are they out there watching us?