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The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones (original 2002; edition 2004)

by Alice Sebold

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
28,23582434 (3.71)612
Title:The Lovely Bones
Authors:Alice Sebold
Info:Back Bay Books (2004), Edition: 1ST, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Crime, American

Work details

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2002)

  1. 51
    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Maiasaura)
  2. 74
    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. 43
    White Oleander by Janet Fitch (leahsimone)
  5. 32
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (RocknRain)
  6. 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)
  7. 21
    The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard (WildMaggie)
  8. 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
  9. 11
    The Book of Fred by Abby Bardi (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: Not as sentimental as this. A very good coming of age novel.
  10. 11
    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (Jen7waters)
  11. 44
    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (sarah-e)
    sarah-e: Though not as emotionally charged, this deals with independence and death and ghosts.
  12. 11
    Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (jbarry)
  13. 00
    Shade: A Novel by Neil Jordan (ShelfMonkey)
  14. 00
    The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor (meggyweg)
  15. 01
    La mirada del otro by Fernando G Delgado (albavirtualy)
  16. 01
    La fortuna de Matilda Turpin by Álvaro Pombo (albavirtualy)
  17. 12
    The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue (cataylor)
  18. 01
    Where I Want to Be by Adele Griffin (jbarry)
    jbarry: touching arration from heaven
  19. 23
    The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (nu-bibliophile)
  20. 01
    A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton (TheFlamingoReads)
    TheFlamingoReads: A melancholy story of how people deal with the death of a child.

(see all 27 recommendations)


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» See also 612 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 803 (next | show all)
This was a fantastic book. The movie was terrible. The movie made many of the elements in the book seem cheesy. ( )
  RojaHorchata | Jul 11, 2016 |
Really good ( )
1 vote | AveNegron | Jul 5, 2016 |
I was hooked right through the whole book, but disappointed in the ending. It wasn't where I thought it would go. ( )
  TerriBowles | Jun 26, 2016 |
Good book, but very painful to read. ( )
  mtlkch | Jun 21, 2016 |
This sweetly haunting novel is powerful, heart-wrenching, and strangely leaves one with an optimistic good feeling. It's the strange feeling in the chest you get when you cry at a sad movie, only to have the film burst into comedic scene not long afterward. A light at the end of the grief. Beware, this book is not for the faint hearted. When I say sad and depressing, I mean it. I cried about ten times reading this. The police even find a part of her body to bring home to the parents; their reactions are so genuine you feel your heart crush. I have to wonder how people can really survive this?

The book is a classic example of how people handle things different ways. Her father holds on to her memory while feeling powerless. In one particularly gut-wrenching scene, he is in his office surrounded by bottle ships. She's watching him and knows he is thinking the same thing as she: how much she used to love the bottle ships, and how they had built one together. In a violent rage and grief stricken beyond belief, he suddenly begins smashing and destroying each one. The family is naturally torn apart, but the mother chooses detachment as the best way of acceptance, and more than a father-daughter relationship becomes broken. Seeing how it affected her crush, the one she never got to kiss for the first time, and her sister is powerful.

The novel is strangely poetic. It is a very quiet peace, moving slowly, almost dreamily. It's hard to describe the tone. The pace is very slow; I felt almost stuck in a single moment, frozen. It's a strange feeling to describe, and even harder to produce on paper or film. Alice Sebold is clearly a talented woman, using words almost as a musical piece without coming across as pretentious or forceful. It's strange that the novel does not appear to try hard to induce pity. It doesn't overboard and miraculously enough, it's not dramatic. That's a difficult feat to pull off. Instead it's filled with a quietly consistent nostalgia that steeps into the mind and won't let up.

The main character is of course the murdered girl, Susie, who is not in the actions she's witnessing, and is a sort of narrator of how her family and friends deal with her loss. Her character is strong and convincing, especially considering her fourteen year old age. The scenario of the place between heaven is also interesting, a nice twist that people would feel better believing in. Not a ghost, no, but not yet ready to move on either, and neither is her family.

This enchanting book is shocking in the beginning, and goes into precise detail of the violence, which is even sadder when you think about how it really happens. The family life she left behind is very real, with genuine problems and conflicts. The parents intrigued me the most I think, with the mother feeling suffocated with her expected role, and the father feeling like he can't protect what he should have, feeling everyone slip through his fingers.

Peter Jackson may be bringing this novel to the big screen. If he manages to convey the wide assortment of grief that's in the books, it's destined to be a blockbuster hit. The best way to describe the story is that it's beautifully haunting. Whether a conflicting phrase or not, it's never been truer than in this case. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 803 (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 editionsconfirmed
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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)

» see all 20 descriptions

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