Thursday 10 September 2015

The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold | As Realistic As It Gets

Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Publication Date: July 3rd, 2002
Add to Goodreads | Buy from The Book Depository

Susie Salmon is ambushed after school one day. Suddenly, Susie finds herself looking down her neighbourhood below.

So Susie continues to observe from her Heaven as her family and friends continue on with their lives, constantly wondering if her killer will ever be caught.


"Because horror on Earth is real and it is every day. It is like a flower or like the sun; it cannot be contained."

The Lovely Bones is realistic. It's uncomfortable and raw, every bit memorable. I don't like it because it promises sunshines and rainbows at the end of a crap storm, but that it portrays the pain and grief that occurs from traumatising events. It also addresses issues that are usually ignored or forgotten, despite being glaringly obvious. I found that it threw these matters into my face and forced me to realise that maybe I'm suppose to face them and try to reconcile or resolve them. 

Susie's family is the main focus in the story, and their methods in dealing with Susie's death varies. I liked that they each had their own coping mechanism, and it was so easy to feel their attempts in trying to start living again. There was a whole ton of emotion weighing them down - especially Susie's sister, who I really sympathised with. Susie's mum, on the other hand, was the character I disliked the most, right after the rapist. I can understand her portrayal in the novel, but I don't condone or justify her actions. Yet, it's the way she's represented so realistically that makes her memorable, and perhaps most relatable. 

Using a dead person's voice as the narrator was also something that really interested me. Susie doesn't age in her heaven per se, but as she witnesses her former life grow, so to does her mind. Her narration is heavy with maturity and life lessons, and it's really sad to see her trying to help her family but cannot actually do anything. 

I am so glad I got around to reading this, finding it emotional and thought-provoking. There was a lot to process by the end of it. I don't love the entirety of it - right before the end something really weird happened and I'm not sure worked best for the actual story. What doesn't sit too well with me is maybe the justification of the rapist's actions through a brief background story. The experience as a whole though, really struck me. I loved that Sebold stripped everything back to reveal something so raw and gripping. It does become a little graphic, especially during the actual violent act, so just a warning. 


  1. Wow. This sounds so incredibly moving and raw Trace, I can imagine how emotional you must have been reading it. Susie's mother sounds like one of those shades of grey characters that add another aspect to the storyline, I can imagine I probably wouldn't like her either. The ending sounds a bit iffy though, is it opened ended without a real conclusion? It's usually the ending that always leaves me undone. Wonderful review Trace, so glad you really enjoyed this one <3

    1. It actually wasn't open ended, a lot more hope and love but there's a lot to process once you reach the end. Thanks for reading Kelly!! <3