The Lovely Bones is a book filled with exciting characters, interesting scenarios, and meaningful life lessons. It brings the reader into a tragic story of a young girl’s story of death, and it provides insights into life after death. It also tells how an average family finds out about the murder, convicts a man, and copes with the pain of losing a beloved daughter.
The plot of this story is quite unlike other books because the climax occurs right in the beginning when the main character, Susie Salmon, is raped and murdered by a neighbor. From then on, the book stays interesting by telling of the struggles of the family in getting over the death of their daughter and sister. The Lovely Bones does a magnificent job of elapsing time over a 10 year period, while still letting the reader feel connected to the characters. It is not possible to lose connection to any of the characters because one always knows what they are thinking are doing.
The characters in this story are all believable, realistic, and interesting throughout the entire book. Characters like Lindsay and Abigail Salmon show how death can negatively change relationships with the people that are the best support system. Lindsay, the lost and confused sister of “the dead girl,” shut her family out, avoided talking of her sister’s death, and relied on her new boyfriend, Samuel Heckler, to keep her stable. On the other hand, Abigail shut her husband out and had an affair with another man to curb the pain of the thought of her deceased daughter. She also reacts to the tragedy by abandoning her family and moving to California, all the way from Philadelphia. There were no characters like Mr. Jack Salmon who dealt with their loss by seeking revenge on the murderer. Once he was suspicious of Mr. Harvey, he went after him with everything he had. Ruth, one of Susie’s acquaintances, used research and writing about similar instances and her feelings toward Susie’s death to get through the pain. All of these characters become very believable to the reader because their emotions and actions would be similar to anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one in such a tragic way.
Setting plays a major role in this book, especially in the beginning. If the scene of the rape and murder had not been set on a cold winter night in a solitary hole, the reader would not have been able to get the same feel of the pain and torture that the narrator was put through. The story ends in the warm summer, which gives the reader the feeling of hope. This hope was one of the themes that the author was building toward in, The Lovely Bones. The reader is essentially told that even though horrible things happen, time will heal the pain, but only if you sustain hope.
This book was a somewhat light and easy read that could be finished over a long weekend. It is generally geared toward a younger demographic that can handle some scenes of brutality and violence. It is intertwined with pain, fear, excitement, suspense, and more. The reader will be instantly attached to the characters, and feel their pain and triumphs along with them. The unforgettable writing allows the reader to feel as if he or she is experiencing every aspect of the story, and gives a new outlook on how many people view heaven. Anyone ready for an enjoyably heart-wrenching story should read Alice Sebold’s, The Lovely Bones.