Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Published: In 2002 by Little Brown and Company
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Tags: Adult | Murder | Romance | Family
Includes: Profanity, Rape, Sexuality
First Lines: My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.
Susie Salmon is an innocent fourteen year old girl, who just so happens to live next door to a serial killer. On her way home from school one day, her neighbor Mr. Harvey persuades her to follow him. As she enters his underground hideout that he claims he built for the neighborhood kids, he brutally rapes and murders her. And thus begins the story of Susie's family trying to cope with their loss. The book is from Susie's point of view, looking down at her grieving family members, from heaven.
This was a different kind of novel; not your regular whiny-teenager in a lot of YA books, or dull storyline. This one was a mix of heartache and sorrow, with a little bit of happiness and smiles sprinkled on top. The chapters alternate with each family member's personal story, and how they are trying to cope with Susie's death. There were definitely beautiful moments in the book that I distinctly remembered, and that I'll take away with me.
The author did a fantastic job with character development. I grew so fond of Susie and her thoughts seemed so realistic, especially for a girl her age. While her younger sister grows up and experiences her first kiss, Susie feels a pang of jealousy but also happiness. The emotions are greatly stirred from this book, and it hits almost each of the emotions throughout the story. It was really interesting seeing how each of Susie's family members dealt with her death completely differently.
From page 47
My father turned but was unable to stop his tears. He was about to smash the mirror over my dresser, rip the wallpaper down with his nails, but instead he fell against my bed, sobbing, and balled the lavender sheets up in his hands.
But one thing to point out is how long this book seemed to be. Sometimes I just wanted to hurry up and finish the book already when the story line would drag. I definitely think some parts could be cut out, they seemed irrelevant - but that's just my opinion.
Mr. Harvey... *shudders*. The quiet, friendly neighbor that no one would expect to be a crazed rapist. He's such an awful character, yet somehow so believable! I think the author did an amazing job with him and his personality, it fit into the story perfectly. And the ending? Wow...if I hadn't seen the movie beforehand, I would never have expected that to happen!
From page 8
I was aware that Mr. Harvey was looking at me strangely. I'd had older men look at me that way since I'd lost my baby fat, but they usually didn't lose their marbles over me when I was wearing my royal blue parka and yellow elephant bell-bottoms. His glasses were small and round with gold frames, and his eyes looked out over them and at me.
This is a horrifying book yet filled with beauty and sad, but sweet sorrow. If you start it, you most definitely have to finish it.