Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

   This is the story of a teenage girl who is raped, murdered, and sent to heaven, where she keeps a steadfast eye on her family and friends from up above while they scramble around to (unsuccessfully) solve the mystery of her death and then (unsuccessfully) to find her killer. Obviously, there are quite a few trigger warnings attached.

   THE LOVELY BONES has been described as a modern classic, and I wholeheartedly agree with that title. By my definition, a classic is a book that can be enjoyed and empathized with during any time period, by any person, and I feel like the morals and feelings and reasoning put forward by Sebold are more or less universal. This book explores how humans feel about both death and life with incredible depth.

   The only real issue I had here was the fact that the plot seemed to take a turn for the scattered somewhere in the middle of the book. It went from murder mystery to 'everyone is sad. Let's fuck our lives up.' in about two point five seconds, and yeah, it contributed to the poignant message of this book, but that transition felt like giving up to me, and my interest kind of faltered for a bit.

   However, even with that, the book kept me reading, mostly because of my attachment to the characters. All of the characters. {Except for George Harvey, due to obvious reasons.}

   Speaking of Harvey, I was left feeling kind of unsatisfied with the ending. I know this makes me sound like a terrible person, but I wanted him to suffer. Even with the backstory that Harvey was given, I fucking hated him, and all I wanted was to have him die terribly, or have Susie kill him, or something. {Never put me in charge of the lives of terrible people.}

   The characters were, in general, endlessly, frustratingly realistic and relatable. Susie was one of those narrators who you can just connect to. With first person narration, it's can sometimes be difficult to completely immerse yourself in the book if you have trouble understanding and relating to the person whose voice is telling the story, but I didn't have that problem with this book, so yay! {I mean, there were still some actions that she took that were weird and didn't make sense to me, but as a whole, you know.}

   I feel like this book is really famous and that I've arrived late to the party. Actually, the weird thing about this is that I found my {fairly beat up} copy of it just lying around on the shelf one day. I'd never seen it before, so I figured my mother had ordered it, but it turned out that she'd never seen it, either. It's been a month, and I still haven't solved that mystery, so I'm going to assume that a friendly dead girl left it on my shelf for me to cry over. {I meant that as a joke, but now that I've written that I'm a little freaked out and I think I'll sleep with the lights on tonight.}

   So, all-in-all, THE LOVELY BONES is a touching, heartfelt read that might not be recommendable for people who are sensitive to subjects like death, rape, family issues, and a bunch of other things. Personally, I'm someone who is really sensitive to the ideas death and dying, thanks to plenty of recent loss, but I truly to feel like braving through this book sort of softened the blow for me. Not enough to be drastically life changing, but enough to help. 

OVERALL RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆