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


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