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The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones (original 2002; edition 2009)

by Alice Sebold

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28,83684232 (3.71)627
Title:The Lovely Bones
Authors:Alice Sebold
Info:Hachette Audio (2009), Edition: Unabridged, Audio CD
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, murder, rape, heaven, ghosts, family, junior high, grief, family relations, relationships, sex, affair, pedophilia, mystery, death, afterlife, Pennsylvania, New York, abandonment, memories, haunting

Work details

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2002)

  1. 51
    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Maiasaura)
  2. 84
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (leahsimone)
  3. 20
    The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books display the effects on a family of the murder of a child.
  4. 10
    The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Despite differences in plot -- a teenager's post-murder afterlife in The Lovely Bones, and civilization's slow, steady collapse in the aftermath of disaster in The Age of Miracles -- the thoughtful young heroines of these melancholy, haunting stories are similar to one another.… (more)
  5. 43
    White Oleander by Janet Fitch (leahsimone)
  6. 32
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (RocknRain)
  7. 21
    The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard (WildMaggie)
  8. 11
    The Book of Fred by Abby Bardi (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: Not as sentimental as this. A very good coming of age novel.
  9. 11
    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (Jen7waters)
  10. 00
    Unstolen by Wendy Jean (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold may be paired withUnstolen by Wendy Jean. Both novels deal with death and crime and how it affects the families left behind
  11. 33
    The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (nu-bibliophile)
  12. 44
    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (sarah-e)
    sarah-e: Though not as emotionally charged, this deals with independence and death and ghosts.
  13. 00
    Shade: A Novel by Neil Jordan (ShelfMonkey)
  14. 00
    The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor (meggyweg)
  15. 11
    Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (jbarry)
  16. 12
    The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue (cataylor)
  17. 01
    A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton (TheFlamingoReads)
    TheFlamingoReads: A melancholy story of how people deal with the death of a child.
  18. 01
    La fortuna de Matilda Turpin by Álvaro Pombo (albavirtualy)
  19. 01
    La mirada del otro by Fernando G Delgado (albavirtualy)
  20. 01
    Where I Want to Be by Adele Griffin (jbarry)
    jbarry: touching arration from heaven

(see all 27 recommendations)


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» See also 627 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 820 (next | show all)
Fourteen year old Susie Salmon is watching life on Earth from Heaven after being murdered.

It was a cool concept for a novel, it's too bad the author chose to write the stupidest ending I've ever read in my life. It ruined how much I liked the book up until then. It was a really, really stupid ending. ( )
  jenn88 | Apr 25, 2017 |
An amazing book that takes the reader on an emotional, rollercoaster ride into the protagonist's life, death, and afterlife and her angst at helping her family determine her murderer from "the other side". Ultimately, the protagonist must find redemption in a manner she didn't expect. Unusual, but spot-on point of view. ( )
  lwillis1 | Apr 17, 2017 |
In 1973, Susie Salmon was raped and killed in a cornfield. And while police do everything they can, they cannot find the body, save for an elbow.

When we meet Susie, she is already in heaven, looking down on her family and watching as it slowly unravels. Her mother cannot cope with the loss of a child, particularly since she never wanted to have children in the first place. Meanwhile, her father is sure that he knows who the killer is. In his search for the truth, he comes back both physically and emotionally damaged, as no one but his second daughter Lindsey, agrees with him.

Through Susie's eyes, we watch the effects that time has on her family and after many years, we watch as they all finally come to terms with her death. We witness the lasting effects she had on a girl named Ruth, who was touched by Susie's spirit when she ascended to heaven. And we also follow Susie's killer with her, learning grisly details of what occurred in the hours after her murder and where he is as time passes.

When I picked up this book, I was so sure I would be reading about an investigation on the rape and murder of a young girl. I believed the main focus of the story would be finding clues to link to the killer. And while that certainly encompasses a part of the story, the main focus of the story is on Susie Salmon's heaven and how she comes to terms with the effects that her life and death have had on the living.
  Sheila_23 | Apr 9, 2017 |
In the first sentence of The Lovely Bones, we learn Susie Salmon’s name. In the second sentence, we learn that she was murdered at the age of 14. This book wastes no time, and dives directly into the chilling plot. The first few chapters were difficult to get through. Gory details of her murder filled the pages, and I couldn’t help but hope that maybe the second sentence was a lie—maybe Susie would make it out alive. Once I realized that Susie Salmon was truly dead, I settled down a little bit.
One of the many things that I enjoyed about this book was reading about the different ways that individuals coped with the death. Some chose to shut everything out, while others clung to people for support. It was painful to read the section where the dad took the ships in bottles that he made with Susie and smashed them on the ground, but I feel that this scene accurately represented how people deal with loss differently. Because the characters were so upset throughout the book, it gave me a deeper look into their personality and revealed who they truly were. Not all books allow the reader to look into the darker side of the human mind.
To me, the most striking part of this book was Susie’s description of heaven. Alice Sebold, the author, decided to stray away from the biblical description of heaven and created something that was entirely her own. At points, this heaven seemed a bit cheesy. It was full of fashion magazines and ice cream, and anything that Susie wanted she could have. But overall, I liked that she was able to watch her family from her heaven. It gave an interesting vantage point to the narration of the book. Even though Susie’s voice couldn’t be heard by anyone except for the reader, it built up excitement as to what would happen to those left behind on Earth.
To those looking for an action packed murder mystery book, I’m sorry, but you haven’t found it. The first few chapters keep the reader on the edge of their seat, but then the plot slows down and begins to drag on for what seems like forever. I’m not at all saying that I didn’t enjoy reading it, but I do think that some parts could have been cut out to shorten it up just a little bit. However, the long plot allowed me to get close to Susie; I grieved with her and felt her longing to reach out of her heaven and touch her family just one last time. But let the following stand as a warning to future readers of this book—the ending of The Lovely Bones will really disappoint you. ( )
  Nikkichapman | Mar 5, 2017 |
I can't say why I didn't like this book without posting a spoiler...but I am probably the only person in America who didn't jump on the Lovely Bones wagon. ( )
  janb37 | Feb 13, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 820 (next | show all)
Sebold's compelling and sometimes poetic prose style and unsparing vision transform Susie's tragedy into an ultimately rewarding novel.
added by bell7 | editLibrary Journal (Aug 25, 2009)
Although some sections tend toward melodrama... other passages are dreamy and lyrical. Most striking is Sebold's mastery of a teenager's voice, from such small details as Susie's Strawberry-Banana Kissing Potion to her completely believable thought processes.
An extraordinary, almost-successful debut that treats sensational material with literary grace, narrated from heaven by the victim of a serial killer and pedophile.
added by bell7 | editKirkus Reviews (Aug 1, 2002)
Don't start "Lovely Bones" unless you can finish it. The book begins with more horror than you could imagine, but closes with more beauty than you could hope for.
Sebold takes an enormous risk in her wonderfully strange début novel: her narrator, Susie Salmon, is dead—murdered at the age of fourteen by a disturbed neighbor—and speaks from the vantage of Heaven. Such is the author's skill that from the first page this premise seems utterly believable... If in the end she reaches too far, the book remains a stunning achievement.
added by Shortride | editThe New Yorker (Jul 15, 2002)

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alice Seboldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bresnahan, AlyssaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Always, Glen
First words
My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie.
Inside the snow globe on my father's desk, there was a penguin wearing a red-and-white-striped scarf.
These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections—sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent—that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events my death brought were primarily that the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous lifeless body had been my life.
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Book description
The Lovely Bones is a moving exploration of loss and mourning that ultimately puts its faith in the living made even more powerful by a cast of convincing characters.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316168815, Paperback)

On her way home from school on a snowy December day in 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon ("like the fish") is lured into a makeshift underground den in a cornfield and brutally raped and murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer--the man she knew as her neighbor, Mr. Harvey.

Alice Sebold's haunting and heartbreaking debut novel, The Lovely Bones, unfolds from heaven, where "life is a perpetual yesterday" and where Susie narrates and keeps watch over her grieving family and friends, as well as her brazen killer and the sad detective working on her case. As Sebold fashions it, everyone has his or her own version of heaven. Susie's resembles the athletic fields and landscape of a suburban high school: a heaven of her "simplest dreams," where "there were no teachers.... We never had to go inside except for art class.... The boys did not pinch our backsides or tell us we smelled; our textbooks were Seventeen and Glamour and Vogue."

The Lovely Bones works as an odd yet affecting coming-of-age story. Susie struggles to accept her death while still clinging to the lost world of the living, following her family's dramas over the years like an episode of My So-Called Afterlife. Her family disintegrates in their grief: her father becomes determined to find her killer, her mother withdraws, her little brother Buckley attempts to make sense of the new hole in his family, and her younger sister Lindsey moves through the milestone events of her teenage and young adult years with Susie riding spiritual shotgun. Random acts and missed opportunities run throughout the book--Susie recalls her sole kiss with a boy on Earth as "like an accident--a beautiful gasoline rainbow." Though sentimental at times, The Lovely Bones is a moving exploration of loss and mourning that ultimately puts its faith in the living and that is made even more powerful by a cast of convincing characters. Sebold orchestrates a big finish, and though things tend to wrap up a little too well for everyone in the end, one can only imagine (or hope) that heaven is indeed a place filled with such happy endings. --Brad Thomas Parsons

Look Inside the Motion Picture The Lovely Bones (Paramount, 2010)
(Click on each image below to see a larger view)

Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon
Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon
Mark Wahlberg as Jack Salmon
Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon and Director Peter Jackson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:43 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

This is the tale of family, memory, love, and living told by 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who is already in heaven. Through the voice of a precocious teenage girl, Susie relates the awful events of her death and builds out of her family's grief a hopeful and joyful story.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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