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Book 12: The Lovely Bones

December 22, 2009

The Lovely Bones is written by Alice Sebold.  The book came out in 2002 and I have always been told about how good it was, but the title and my inability to read anything new unless I know the author stopped me.  In all my shame, the only reason I read this is because Peter Jackson is about to put out the film and I figured  it would be nice to read the book before the movie came out, seeing as I like Jackson and heard the novel was good.

Well, let me just say that I fucking loved this book.  It is dark, twisted, and filled with adolescent angst from toddler to adult.  A coming of age after death novel where the main character looks on as everyone she knows tries to move on after her death is a great idea and in no way cliche.  The way this book deals with death reminded me of Six Feet Under, which is one of my favorite TV shows ever, probably #2 on my list after The Wire. It lays everything out in the open and hits you over the head with heart felt emotion while allowing room for the reader’s personal introspection.

Another favorite aspect of this book is that it doesn’t force itself to wrap up the lives of the characters in a neat ending where everything is either hunky dory or forever blighted.  Instead, it allows the passage of time to seamlessly move the characters into lives of their own unconnected to the death of the main character at the beginning of the novel.

The girl who dies at the opening of the novel goes to heaven, and watches from there, but in no way does the novel preach a doctrine, even though it easily could have.  It gives the impression that everybody has their own heaven and that the dead watch over us, but the description of the after life doesn’t go much further than that.  The book is really about grieving, from family, to friends, and even local cops, with the added view of the recently and then not so recently deceased.

This book is smart, funny, extremely sad at points, touching, heartwarming, smile breaking, montage inducing, mental soundtrack laden, picturesque, and cannot be put down once begun.

Love this book

Next day thoughts  (this review was written immediately after reading):

I thought it was a bit gimmicky.  I didnt say it in the post but i did in a response to someone else’s comment.  Probably should have instead of being so glowing, but the thing is that I didnt really think about that while I was reading.  Looking back at it the next day instead of the immediate review I did once finished, I think the book had a lot of fluff but I disagree with you on the 14 year old thing.  I thought the characters had very individual and realistic styles of grieving that you wouldn’t see in a book for adolescents.  It’s easy to take it as an adolescent novel because of the age of the character, but I also think the narrative seems to come from someone older as the story progresses.  Right after she dies, all of her reactions are rash, or just plain childish.  Towards the end of the novel, her decisions are more poised from learning while watching people.  The only thing I didn’t like was the sex scene.  I thought that was a jump out of reality in a book that already asked me to make a few assumptions. What the book did have going for it was great characters and an interesting plot device.  Overall I just plain enjoyed reading it.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 22, 2009 2:10 pm

    Good review! I have just reviewed this book as well and was much like you that I didn’t get around to reading it thinking I wouldn’t like it but after much badgering from one of my friends, I read it and loved it!

    • December 22, 2009 2:27 pm

      thanks, have fun with the dark tower series, you won’t want it to end when it does

  2. gayle permalink
    December 22, 2009 6:07 pm

    i read the book so long ago – i forgot how good it was – thanks for reminding me!!! we’re taking a screener on vacation w/ us and i’m looking forward to seeing what Jackson did w/ it..xoxox

  3. Lorie permalink
    December 22, 2009 11:14 pm

    I avoided this book as well. I will keep an open mind.

    • December 22, 2009 11:53 pm

      I think you will like it Lorie. It can seem a bit gimmicky at times but you don’t really think about that while you are reading.

  4. December 23, 2009 4:14 am

    i’m a bit surprised by your reaction!! i read it a few years ago, and though i liked it i don’t remember it being ‘that’ fantastic… didn’t you find it a bit, i dunno, childish?? sort of? like something you would have been reading when you were 14 or something???? looking forward to seeing what they’ll do with the movie…

    • December 23, 2009 6:11 am

      I thought it was a bit gimmicky. I didnt say it in the post but i did in a response to someone else’s comment. Probably should have instead of being so glowing, but the thing is that I didnt really think about that while I was reading. Looking back at it the next day instead of the immediate review I did once finished, I think the book had a lot of fluff but I disagree with you on the 14 year old thing. I thought the characters had very individual and realistic styles of grieving that you wouldn’t see in a book for adolescents. It’s easy to take it as an adolescent novel because of the age of the character, but I also think the narrative seems to come from someone older as the story progresses. Right after she dies, all of her reactions are rash, or just plain childish. Towards the end of the novel, her decisions are more poised from learning while watching people. The only thing I didn’t like was the sex scene. I thought that was a jump out of reality in a book that already asked me to make a few assumptions. But overall I just plain enjoyed reading it.

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