Book Review: The Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold crafts a gut-ripping tale of loss, grief, recovery, and the afterlife in The Lovely Bones.

It was on my list of movies to watch, but I never got around to it. Being a firm believer that books are always better than the movies, I decided to read her story instead.

WOW. It’s one of my top 10 books. Immaculate writing, master-like use of multiple point of view, soul-stirring cadence, and a haunting tale that never leaves you. Even after you close the book and return it to the shelf.

There are at least two hundred thousand perfectly crafted sentences in this book. Like “You don’t notice the dead leaving when they really choose to leave you. You’re not meant to.” and “The events that my death wrought were merely the bone of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future.”

She is an artist, sketching her characters with a few telling details. Each sentence wove an image into my mind. I was right there with the father feeling his loss so acutely it became mine for a moment.

Her concept of heaven sits reassuringly on top of earth. But the pain of seeing and not touching loved ones. Of watching but never being able to participate–it’s agonizing.

Suzie is a character you are immediately drawn to from the first sentence of the book.

“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.”

Her family could be anyone’s family.

That’s one of the most powerful things about this book. It could happen to any one of us.

I finished the book humbled. Grateful to feel the weight of my bones and muscles. Able to interact with anyone. Being alive never felt so tangible.

If you haven’t read it or seen the movie yet, you can buy the book here on Amazon. And even if you did catch the movie, the book is exquisite. Read it.

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