Horrifying, heartbreaking and emotionally haunting. The Lovely Bones was written in 2002 by Alice Sebold and is guaranteed to provoke any reader to feel an array of mixed emotions and absolute despair from the first page of the book to the very last. The novel contains an incredibly graphic and powerful storyline as it follows the life and afterlife of a young girl who is raped, murdered and later dismembered by a family friend with only an elbow bone discovered by a neighbours dog. Keep reading this post as I will be explaining just some of the many reasons why The Lovely Bones should be added to your reading list!
The Lovely Bones is portrayed from the point of view of a young girl named Susie Salmon and is unlike any other crime drama novel as the murder is revealed within the second sentence of the book. The twisted and sinister murderer is also revealed to the readers by the main character within the first few pages of the novel and is done so in a calm and helpless manner. This weak tone emphasises Susie’s complete lack of strength during her murder and the hurt she feels whilst watching upon her family from the afterlife unable to interfere. The distressing murder scene is so vividly written by Sebold that it continues to haunt me in day to day life and is one of the qualities which makes The Lovely Bones such an unforgettable novel.
In my opinion, this novel beautifully celebrates the importance of youth and innocence from a fourteen year olds perspective and forces the reader to realise how easily and quickly life can be taken away too soon. Alice Sebold manages to perfectly capture a realistic narrative of a fourteen year old girl with awkward one liners, boy crushes and an sweet sense of humour. The narrative is so immediately compelling that it encourages the readers to not want to let her go at the end of the book, just as Susie doesn’t want to let go of her past life filled with grieving family and friends. The disturbing murder of such a young girl with so much potential left me, and other readers, emerged in a sea of emotions of a great hatred for the murderer, endless sympathy for the Salmon family, pure misery for Susie and hope that justice is given to Susie and her family. These many strong and undying feelings are the one the main reasons that I love this novel as they remain with the reader even after finishing the novel.
Readers, I would strongly recommend you add The Lovely Bones to your reading list as it is incredibly thought provoking and most definitely provides a sense of catharsis and emotional exhaustion once finished. By reading this novel, I felt myself becoming increasingly exposed to a variety of new thoughts and felt able to fully emphasise with those families who have lost a loved one by through the evil act of another. This novel is explicit in the way that Susie watches the repercussions of her death among her friends and family by seeing how they adapt to life without her. She watches her parents love crumble away and her younger sister harden her heart after being known as the ‘sister of that murdered girl’. She also watches her murderer rejoice in his success and continue to claim his next victims. The fact that she is unable to interfere is what makes this novel so compelling and one of my favourite books.
With much thought, I have decided to give The Lovely Bones a four and a half stars out of five. For me, I felt too disturbed at many parts of the novel and thought that too much detail was given within the rape scene. However, this is just my personal preference and I am aware that Alice Sebold most likely intended to craft this scene to be as horrific as possible!
Thank you for reading 🙂