Mostly-Spoiler-Free Review: The Lovely Bones

“As she brought prospective buyers through, the realtor said it was an oil stain, but it was me, seeping out of the bag.”

Is there a better way to kick off October than a story about a girl who gets rapped and murdered?

… yes? well too bad, I read The Lovely Bones.

Author: Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones tells the story of a young girl who is kidnapped, raped and murdered. She watches her family from … She calls it heaven, but apparently there is another heaven that she needs to cross over to… so either she’s in some kind of purgatory or heaven has different access levels.

Anyway, she watches her friends and family mourn her and move on, and comes to realize that she must do the same herself.

That’s the story.

I will say I hated Suzie’s mom. It almost felt like the novel was saying all the awful things she does is excused with “she took Suzie’s death hard.” You know who else took Suzie’s death hard? The living children you abandoned!

It’s one of my pet peeves in fiction: Mothers get a pass on being abusive / neglectful parents because they had to “figure somethings out.” It reminds me of a short story I read in college about a housewife who hates her life. So rather than get a job or volunteer for a good cause, she kills herself. When her young son finds the body, the author actually wants you to feel bad for her. Can we please stop infantilizing women?

The emotional elements with Suzie’s sister are the best parts of the book for me. I love the moment when Suzie realizes that her little sister is older than her.

This is a good story. Tragic and bitter-sweet, but very good. The “possession” was weird and not okay Suzie. In an attempt to block that part out of my mind, I’m going to ignore that part. I’m not one for tearjerker stories but if you are, I do recommend this book. Just read it with some tissues.

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