Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Lovely Bones

No. Not a review of the recently released film. But my thoughts about the novel on which the film is based.

The Lovely Bones does not waste your time. Seventeen words into the story you learn of the ultimate horror:

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie.
I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.

By the end of this first chapter Susie Salmon is dead and you know the murderer.

I can tell you this 'spoiler', author Alice Sebold can write this 'spoiler', because The Lovely Bones is so much more about the loss of a loved daughter, sister, friend than it is about 'who-done-it'. So much more about everyday moments of grief that erode the strong foundations of a family, moments of grief that break the strong bond between husband and wife, moments of grief that fracture the the strong love of a mother for her children. The Lovely Bones is so much more about budding youth and innocence lost than it is about police, chase, clues, law-and-order.

Lured, raped, murdered, dismembered, hidden . . .perhaps never to be found, Susie narrates this tale from the safe, comforting confines of her heaven. Did you know everyone has their own 'personal' heaven? Susie's heaven is the imagined environs of a High School campus that the earth-bound—the murdered—Susie will never know. She shares her heaven with others, their heavenly desires intersecting with hers. Music, playful dogs, peppermint ice cream, glorious sunsets fill her heaven. From the gazebo of her heaven ("our neighbors, the O'Dwyers, had had a gazebo. I had grown up jealous for one") she watches the earthly world she will never walk again.

Read the rest of my review of The Lovely Bones at my review page at


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Do the Right Thing...

They are the hot topics of today: the economy, health care, the war on terror, energy, taxes. They were hot topics in the last presidential election cycle; Nostradamus is not needed to predict they will remain hot topics for many years, and many elections, to come.

Mike Huckabee, former Baptist pastor and Republican Governor of the Democrat-controlled state of Arkansas, shares his thoughts on these topics and more in Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America. As the book is subtitled, he shares his view from inside the movement and from his perspective as a past candidate for the highest office in the land.

There have been other calls for 'common sense' in government: the seminal call of Thomas Paine in 1776 in his pamphlet Common Sense,

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

... the liberal views of Dr. John Ekerd found in A Return to Common Sense, and the conservative rantings of Glenn Beck in his Common Sense: ... book.

The thing about common sense is is not so common, a thought attributed to many over the years, Sun Tzu, Euripedes, and Voltaire among them. This tasks the reader of any tome calling for 'common sense' to measure the validity of the author's plea and motivation.

Mike Huckabee roots his call to "do the right thing" in his experiences during the 2008 Republican presidential primary campaign. In a long and winding tale that is at times biographical, at times a travelogue, at times a 'psychology 101' tome, and at times history lesson he never leaves his reader lost or bored.


Read the rest of my review of Do the Right Thing: Inside the Movement That's Bringing Common Sense Back to America at my review page at