Alice Sebold, author of "The Lovely Bones" in 2007
"The Lovely Bones", by Alice Sebold, was published in 2002. It has sold millions of copies and been on best sellers lists for year. When you see all the reviews you find that many people love it but many hate it. It is dark and not for young kids but it has a different approach. The book is a commentary from heaven by the brutally murdered victim of as serial killer and pedophile.
“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” This is the first sentence but it is Susie’s voice that tells of her brief life, her tragic death, and the decade that follows as she sees it from heaven.
The author, Alice Sebold’s, first book was not fiction and dealt with her own death. In this book Susie Salmon tells of her own rape and murder by a neighbor. In a controlled matter of fact voice she tells of the deep emotions and grief of her family over the years that follow. The struggles of both her parents, sister, and brother. She watches everyone she knew on earth including her killer from heaven. After she died as she moves on into “her heaven” and it was her friend Ruth that her soul briefly touched as it left.
Ruth then becomes friends with Ray Singh who was the first and only boy to have kissed Susie. She eventually comes back briefly using Ruth’s body and has one more experience with Ray.
Her parents have very different reactions to the tragedy and their stories that follow the event are a lesson or at least an experience in grief and in love. The tenderness of their feelings for each other add a lot to the story.
Susie says of her life and the time that follows it: “The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future.”
The ending of the book shifted the dialog form the "matter a fact" overview of most of the book. The value of the story is not in the ending but in the feelings shared all through the book. I felt it was well written in a graceful style.
This paragraph comes on the page before Chapter One.