"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."
So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her -- her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy.
HSebold's first novel after her memoir, Lucky is a small but far from minor miracle. Sebold has taken a grim, media-exploited subject and fashioned from it a story that is both tragic and full of light and grace. The novel begins swiftly. In the second sentence, Sebold's narrator, Susie Salmon, announces, "I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973." Susie is taking a shortcut through a cornfield when a neighbor lures her to his hideaway. The description of the crime is chilling, but never vulgar, and Sebold maintains this delicate balance between homely and horrid as she depicts the progress of grief for Susie's family and friends. She captures the odd alliances forged and the relationships ruined: the shattered father who buries his sadness trying to gather evidence, the mother who escapes "her ruined heart, in merciful adultery." At the same time, Sebold brings to life an entire suburban community, from the mortician's son to the handsome biker dropout who quietly helps investigate Susie's murder. Much as this novel is about "the lovely bones" growing around Susie's absence, it is also full of suspense and written in lithe, resilient prose that by itself delights. Sebold's most dazzling stroke, among many bold ones, is to narrate the story from Susie's heaven (a place where wishing is having), providing the warmth of a first-person narration and the freedom of an omniscient one. It might be this that gives Sebold's novel its special flavor, for in Susie's every observation and memory of the smell of skunk or the touch of spider webs is the reminder that life is sweet and funny and surprising,.
Good read... Not amazing
It's a good, thought provoking read, but I wouldn't say it was a real page turner. I would set it down for several days at a time and then come back to it.
Beautiful,heartfelt and sad at the same time
I read this book in 2002 when it came out. I was either 17 or 18 at the time but I love the book. I enjoyed the movie just as much. As a parent now of a two year old son this story hits home especially thinking of all the perverted people in this world that could bring harm to your child(ren). This book was well written and I have been a fan of Alice Sebold ever since I read,The Lovely Bones. As a teen girl at the time I understood how one could be easily lured in to a trap. My heart goes out to all parents of any missing child.
Only read if you can handle the beginning
I read the first chapter of the book and could barely get through it! Its really disturbing (let's just say it goes into detail about all the things that her killer does to her before she dies). I'm 15 and I guess I'm too young to handle a book like this. So I would only recommend this book to people over 17 .