The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

 In 1973, Susie Salmon was your normal 14 year old girl until she was brutally murdered. Now in heaven she watches over her family as they cope with the loss and the investigation to find her killer, who has experience in covering his tracks. As Susie watches, can she help them, as well as herself, move forward from this tragedy?

The Lovely Bones came highly recommended to me by a classmate in college, and after reading it I agree that it was a very well written book. Alice Sebold has a way with words that brings the images and the characters right off the page and makes everything seem so real that it brings tears to readers eyes. Literally. Within the first two pages I had tears in my eyes. It was at that moment that I wondered why I would read a book that would make me want to cry within the first few pages. But for a writer to bring a reader close to tears so soon in the story is talent. Some people may say it is the subject matter that makes it so powerful, but I think without a command over words it’s hard to make a reader feel so much emotional in so short a span of pages.

My only problem with the book was that I felt it didn’t really go anywhere. That may be because I walked in thinking The Lovely Bones was going to be a mystery, but it’s not. Within the first two pages the reader knows who the killer is, which takes the surprise out of the reading. The story focuses more on her family and friends and how they cope with the loss of Susie. How her death pulls them apart and puts them back together when they least expect it. While it was still well written and interesting, after a certain point I couldn’t see how it could advance. I felt there wasn’t as much focus on some characters as I would have liked and that they got dropped and forgotten too quickly. At the end, I couldn’t help but feel a little unfulfilled and wishing the ending could have been a bit different.

I do like that the book puts a face on heaven. When I think of heaven, I personally don’t picture more than just a bunch of white and maybe some clouds. But the type of heaven Alice Sebold describes is all the wishes and dreams we have in our life in one place that constantly changes to help us cope with what we lost in death. I just thought that was a really nice picture to paint for readers.

Definitely a tear jerker, I would recommend The Lovely Bones to other readers. Although I felt unfulfilled by the ending of the book, I still think it was a well written piece of fiction that deserves a chance with all readers.

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