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The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones (original 2002; edition 2009)

by Alice Sebold

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26,41176741 (3.72)572
Title:The Lovely Bones
Authors:Alice Sebold
Info:Back Bay Books (2009), Edition: 1 Mti Rep, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2002)

  1. 63
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (leahsimone)
  2. 41
    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Maiasaura)
  3. 10
    The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books display the effects on a family of the murder of a child.
  4. 22
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (RocknRain)
  5. 11
    The Book of Fred by Abby Bardi (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: Not as sentimental as this. A very good coming of age novel.
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    Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger (sarah-e)
    sarah-e: Though not as emotionally charged, this deals with independence and death and ghosts.
  7. 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
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    TheFlamingoReads: A melancholy story of how people deal with the death of a child.
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    jbarry: touching arration from heaven
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» See also 572 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 745 (next | show all)
Surprising book. I don't normally read books like this that have some supernatural elements but really it's a story about family and how they deal with grief. These are a few points and impressions of this book.

Sebold surprised me. I expected a murder mystery or a story of vengeance or something of that nature. Harvey, the child murderer is looked at during the book naturally. In fact he commits the deed in the rape and murder of Susie Salmon (like the fish, we are reminded!) and we get to see the insides of his mind and motive. Sebold writes the crime neatly and not graphically at all, which I was glad to see.

Harvey is not a character written of much. He takes little time through most of the book. In fact Harvey is rarely doing much of anything during the majority of the book. He does meet his end at the end of the book (which is not a spoiler, you have to expect that the bad guy gets his just desserts) but it's written as an afterthought, a footnote. Ho hum.

The book also explores the Salmon family dealing with its grief and the community coming together. The community comes together more out of sympathy and "now I'm supposed to" but other friends and family seem more sincere.

The big parts of the story revolve around Susie's mom, her sister Lindsey and her life, and Ray (the foreign-born boy in a white neighborhood, though race is not touched on much).

The mom was the biggest disappointment. She completely gives up on the family when they needed her the most, tries and fails to get a cathartic from adultery and ends up in California moping and feeling sorry for herself. Quite a pathetic character though she comes into her own at the end.

There's a supernatural incident when Susie actually comes to take over a body for a brief few hours. Does she use this unusual incident to tell people who her killer was? No! She makes love to a boy she's always wanted to "do it" with when she was living. I mean, yeah, romantic but far from this practical reader's logical sense!

Overall, the book is an emotional response to grief and how people deal and survive, choices made and living with those decisions. It's not a murder mystery. It's not even a ghost story, really.

The book also uses a flashback within flashback mode that is odd and takes some getting used to.

And the lovely bones? It's an analogy. Read the book!
( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
An interesting concept of heaven coupled with a delicately handled depiction of a gruesome crime (the rape and murder of young Susie Salmon). Characters (including the horrible Mr Harvey) well drawn, with a compassion for human frailty that never slips into saccharine "feel good" writing. Left me swirling with melancholy, tinged with hope that even through the most awful of human tragedies, love and friendship and family can survive. ( )
  JudyCroome | Aug 29, 2014 |
I make it a rule not to read other fiction while I'm working on my own novels, but now that [b:Enchantress: A Novel of Rav Hisda's Daughter|20821076|Enchantress A Novel of Rav Hisda's Daughter|Maggie Anton|/assets/nocover/60x80.png|40166974], the sequel to [b:Rav Hisda's Daughter, Book I: Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery|13542525|Rav Hisda's Daughter, Book I Apprentice A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery|Maggie Anton|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1333225010s/13542525.jpg|19106814], is finished, I have time to catch up on the books on my 'to-read' shelf.

It's a good thing I didn't read this novel earlier, because it is so well-written, with such an incredible plot and protagonist, that I would have been too discouraged to think I could even come close to writing so well. What a page-turner! I read it all in one night.

[a:Maggie Anton|79249|Maggie Anton|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1337899260p2/79249.jpg] ( )
  Maggie.Anton | Jul 18, 2014 |
Alice Sebold's story has a ring of veracity and hope to it. Her prose is mesmerizing and is both bold and delicate in style. I stayed up all night reading it. It is the kind of story that ruins you for less-gifted writers. ( )
  lisa-ann | Jul 17, 2014 |
Powerful but easy to get swallowed by the sadness of it. ( )
  twerkysandwich | Jul 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 745 (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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:45 -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 19 descriptions

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Average: (3.72)
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1 244
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2 614
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3 1938
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4 3119
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5 1970


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