Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Alice Sebold / The Lovely Bones / Reviews

Alice Sebold
Photo by Neville Elder


I don't think I've ever read a book as moving and beautiful as Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones. It's not my usual choice of book to read but I am so happy I gave it a go as I was pleasantly surprised by what I found inside (Spoiler: You will be left heartbroken chapter after chapter).

The story is of a young girl named Susie Salmon, who is raped and murdered by a neighbour. The story follows her time in Heaven and it is mainly about how her family survive life after Susie.
I think what has always put me off this book is that it's set in Heaven. I'm not a religious person so I assumed this book would be focused on the importance of Heaven etc and that put me off for a long time. I was so wrong in this thought and, whilst Susie's Heaven is an important aspect of the novel, it is more of a spiritual place that clearly only belongs to Susie. I actually loved the idea of people having their own individual Heaven where they can wait until they are entirely ready to pass on to whatever is next.

I think what I struggled with most with The Lovely Bones is reading the whole book without sobbing. I read mostly on trains so you can imagine the struggle of holding back tears whilst on public transport! Of course a book dealing with topics like rape and murder will be touching and sensitive, however it was the parts where Susie watches her family that got me the most. You can sympathise with every single character and, despite not agreeing with all of their actions, you really feel a warmth towards each one of them. You almost feel like part of the family. I think my favourite characters were Ray, Susie's love interest, and Lindsey, Susie's sister. These characters where complex but loving and they really help keep he family together when everything is falling apart.

Having known the killer from the beginning of the book, it's hard to not get angry at having to watch him get away with the crime and when you think they are close to catching him, he manages to get away. As a reader you are desperate for him to be caught! Sebold does an amazing job of building the character and I love how complicated his back story was. You can't sympathise with a rapist killer but you do understand his motives (making it even more annoying that he is going about his business like a regular guy when he clearly has problems). Sebold's characters in general are beautifully created - I loved the tiny details and traits that I only picked up later in the book that truly define each character and give them their own voice. They are such convincing character's it's almost impossible not to get sucked in to their grief and loss.

I cannot recommend The Lovely Bones enough. I have never felt so attached to a story line and you are kept gripped through the entire book. The characters are people you could come across in real life and you instantly fall in love with the Salmon family. Don't let the books sensitive topics put you off reading - it is a fantastic plot that will keep you stunned, tense and you'll be crying both tears of sorrow and joy right up until the last page.

No comments:

Post a Comment