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The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
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The Lovely Bones (original 2002; edition 2004)

by Alice Sebold

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
31,92989652 (3.7)668
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.
Member:kellendorner
Title:The Lovely Bones
Authors:Alice Sebold
Info:Back Bay Books (2004), Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
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Work details

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2002)

  1. 84
    The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd (leahsimone)
  2. 51
    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Maiasaura)
  3. 20
    The Little Friend by Donna Tartt (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: Both books display the effects on a family of the murder of a child.
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    White Oleander by Janet Fitch (leahsimone)
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    The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard (WildMaggie)
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    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (Jen7waters)
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    The Book of Fred by Abby Bardi (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: Not as sentimental as this. A very good coming of age novel.
  8. 33
    The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (Headinherbooks_27)
  9. 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
  10. 11
    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)
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    A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton (TheFlamingoReads)
    TheFlamingoReads: A melancholy story of how people deal with the death of a child.
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    La fortuna de Matilda Turpin by Álvaro Pombo (albavirtualy)
  17. 12
    The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue (cataylor)
    cataylor: Story is told by a character from the afterlife
  18. 01
    Where I Want to Be by Adele Griffin (jbarry)
    jbarry: touching arration from heaven
  19. 01
    La mirada del otro by Fernando G Delgado (albavirtualy)
  20. 01
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(see all 27 recommendations)

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» See also 668 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 869 (next | show all)
A beatiful book with beautiful language, themes and characters. The way Susie's heaven is vaguely described, but the feelings of the people's she looking at are crystal clear describes her focus on Earth in a way that the narrative doesn't have to convey anymore. ( )
  stormnyk | Aug 6, 2020 |
Fantastic opening few chapters then drops off in quality, with the final third taking a particular nose dive. Still very readable though, assume it would be a comforting read for anyone who has lost someone well before their time despite some of the dark themes. ( )
  arewenotben | Jul 31, 2020 |
Just finished The Lovely Bones today by Alice Sebold.

Basic plotline: Girl gets raped and murdered and then watches from heaven as her family does their best to move on.

It was ok, it was no where near as epic as most of the buzz says it was, it wasn’t as sad as my mom said it was…in general i just have no feeling about it whatsoever. I’m bummed that she tells you right away who killed her, there really wasn’t much movement to the book and there wasn’t really any climax.

In short, i didn’t like it and it’s already fading from memory.

Happy Readings!


The Book Worm ( )
  artdamnit_reads | Jul 29, 2020 |
I read this book back in 2003. I remember buying the hardcover from a random book shop in D.C. (can't recall the name of the store) and started to read this book while on a bus heading back from the Pentagon metro stop. Within an hour I was in tears and just read it until I finished it sometime before dawn. This book grabbed me back when I was 23 and it still grabbed me more than a decade and a half later at 38. Sebold wrote this book in response to being raped and she takes all of that pain and anger and wrote something that I believe will eventually be considered a classic. That said there are some nits here and there in the book that don't work, she has the main character at one point inhabit someone's body and I don't even want to discuss it anymore cause it was weird and off-putting. The only really false step I got while reading this.

"The Lovely Bones" is about 14 year old Susie Salmon who tells you about how she came to be raped and murdered. Her bones (the lovely bones in this story) are hidden and her family has to deal with the fallout from her disappearance. When a part of Susie is eventually found, her family then has to deal with knowing she is murdered and nver coming home. Sebold provides updates on via Susie about her family, the man who raped and murdered her, as well as a boy she had a crush on before her death.

Susie's character was heartbreaking. Reading about her rape and murder was awful. You want to reach into the pages and keep her safe. I kept wishing for a different ending while reading this book. When Susie is gone, her soul races off to her own personal heaven and from there she keeps an eye on things. Parts of the book made me cry a lot. Reading about Susie meeting and hanging out with her grandfather and the other friends she makes in heaven are wonderful.

Susie's sister Lindsey is dealing with having suspicions on the man she believes killed her sister and trying to hold on to her family as they slowly disintegrate. The younger brother Buckley is having to adjust to having a family that he remembers before Susie disappeared to after where everything seems to be focused on her.

I didn't really like Susie's mother. I get people act to grief in different ways, but how she chose to deal with things made me feel sad. I do applaud Sebold though for not trying to sugarcoat things and also for the family to not rush to bring her back into the family fold.

The writing was poetic at times. Sebold has a very strong grasp of words. I could picture everything that was happening perfectly (sometimes too perfectly).

“My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered.”

“Murderers are not monsters, they're men. And that's the most frightening thing about them.”

The flow for the most part was really good. Things just got slow towards the end in my opinion. You are just wanting to get to the end.

The setting of the book takes place in Pennsylvania in the 1970s and then through the next few decades.

The ending comes for a whisper almost with Susie starting to move on, but still watching her family. She wishes the reader a long and happy life. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
This is the sort of book that takes you by the throat and hold you in a death grip like Darth Vader. I say this because there are times when I could not breathe while reading The Lovely Bones because I was either actively holding my breath, or choking on the different expressions of heartbreak. In truth, every emotion (think stages of grief) floats just under the icy surface of reality as a dead girl narrates "life" after murder. Susie Salmon was an ordinary girl who knew right from wrong; knew the man in the cornfield wasn't quite right, but yet curiosity got the better of her. Now, she is suspended in this alternate universe of "heaven" while watching her family, friends, and community cope with her murder. In her heaven, reality is a school-like atmosphere while she blandly looks down on the world she left behind. She is unmoved when her mother seeks a drastic remedy for grief, or when her would-be boyfriend almost finds her body.
What impressed me the most about The Lovely Bones was the end. Sebold did not feel pressured to give into a Hollywood ending. It might be a spoiler alert, but the ending is more realistic than what you would see in a movie. I'm alright with that. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jun 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 869 (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)
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Alice Seboldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bresnahan, AlyssaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
Quotations
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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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.
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