There seems to be a recent trend of womens’ fiction novels being turned into movies. My Sister’s Keeper, Confessions of a Shopaholic, He’s Just Not That Into You, etc. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is the latest piece of literature to be shown on the big screen, but this book doesn’t quite have the same happy, chick-lit feel as some of the others. As usual, I have not seen the movie, but don’t really intend to. The book is all I need. Although the movie does star Mark Walbergh, so I may have to go see it just for him…
The aqua-blue background and silver charm bracelet on the cover of The Lovely Bones is, to say the least, misleading. It’s not the light, cutesy tale one would think it to be when pulling it off of the shelf. In reality, The Lovely Bones is a mix of memoir, mystery, and thriller, all with a feminine appeal. The book is told from the point of view of Susie Salmon, a 14-year old who is stuck in the “world in-between.” Susie was raped and murdered by her neighbor, Mr. Harvey, while taking a short-cut on her way home from school. The murder itself is depicted rather graphically for a short bit of the book, but the rest reflects on the the struggles of those she left behind.
Susie watches over her family from heaven, as they discover her death, and attempt to recover from it and move on. She watches her younger sister try to cope with the loss, and continue to grow up and deal with everyday teenage issues in the most normal way possible. She watches over her father as he begs detectives to continue searching for her killer, and, ultimately, takes matters into his own hands.
But perhaps the most heart-wrenching moments of all are when Susie reflects on her own life and what she has missed, since being taken away too young. The novel takes a unique look at the mysteries of the spiritual world and the after-life, and the relationship we have with it here on Earth.
The story is definitely a tear-jerker, and, at times, difficult to read. While Sebold’s use of language and description makes a beautiful literary piece, it also causes the story to move along slowly and become dry in places.
For a unique book, and a fresh perspective on life and it’s little treasures, be sure to read The Lovely Bones.