Culture

BOOK REVIEW The Lovely Bones: Alice Sebold’s debut novel is ‘Lovely’

Listed as one of the best-selling books in the country, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is an interesting viewpoint on death. The main character, Susie Salmon –yes, like the fish -gets brutally raped and murdered by her neighbor after being lured into an underground shelter while coming home from school one evening. Following the incident, the rest of the novel is told from Heaven, where Susie looks down on her killer, her parents and her friends, keeping watch and narrating the story. Clinging to her life on earth and struggling to accept the finality of her death, Susie watches her family fall apart in the aftermath of her disappearance.

Consuming and intriguing, The Lovely Bones is a twisted sort of coming-of-age novel: a story about dealing with the loss of a loved one while still accepting the future. Of course, the drama of her family’s fall out and Susie’s longing to touch the boy she loved on earth is heart wrenching. Most interesting is Sebold’s description of Heaven, a place where each and every person has their own version that essentially forms from wishes, dreams and aspirations.

Ultimately putting trust back into the human race, Sebold weaves a gripping end that leaves all of the convincing and complex characters happy. Despite the almost fanciful nature of the ending, Sebold gives readers hope that Heaven truly is heavenly.

Joanna Davila can be contacted a j.davila1@umiami.edu.

September 20, 2004

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