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The Lovely Bones


As the sole literature bod amongst us, I thought it was probably about time that I included a review of one of my favourite media mediums.

‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold tells the story of 14 year old Susie Salmon raped and murdered by her next door neighbour from this protagonists own perspective in Heaven. Having read this book when it was first published a few moons ago, I felt that giving it a second read would be a good thing to do seeing as though it didn’t provoke much of a reaction in me whilst giving it a first go on various trains to and from Leicester.
I certainly didn’t expect to react in quite a violently melancholy way to it though! This book is terrifically written, unsettling and completely unputdownable whilst never faiing to make me weep like a baby at each sitting. In my opinion this is always a test for me of a good novel. Since I first read Robin Jarvis’ ‘The Woven Path’ where the soul of a WW2 pilot inexplicably trapped in the inanimate body of a teddy bear given to him by his long dead sweetheart is plunged back in time to prevent her grisly death, I have never had such an emotional reaction to fictional characters.

Although at times ‘The Lovely Bones’ fails to progress the narrative with as much fluidity as I would hope, by the next page, or at least the next chapter the fictional universe is back on track. There are a few moment within the story that I did think were slightly unnecessary, i.e Susie’s brief ‘fall’ to Earth, or entirely irritating- the ending.
Obviously I didn’t pay enough attention to this book the first time, but this most recent reading had me actually caring about each character and rushing back to read it, even when something good was on telly! However, I have a gripe. And that, is the ending. If you choose to read this book, you will, like me want to see swift and painful justice be handed out to the killer of Susie, but he elludes capture and instead is doled out his ‘justice’ in the form of an accident. An icicle to the heart. Nice.
If I’d stopped reading about 20 pages before the end, in fact, at the end of the penultimate chapter, I’d have absolutely no complaints. As such, I just felt a little bit annoyed.

Still…it’s definitely worth a read and will definitely raise some interesting thoughts about life after death and the possibility(ies) of heaven.


I agree with you here Claire. I loved this book, lots of smiles and crying and then anger. If you read this book your emotions will be flung from one extreme to the next with each turn of the page. Sadly one of these emotions is frustration one of the most interesting characters in the story was criminally under developed, Ruana Singh although portrayed as a mystery and best kept that way it would have been nice to have seen more of her than of her annoying sun and his “I see dead people” friend. They might have worked in another book or even as an extension of this one but in this story Ray and Ruth only serve to distract away from more interesting events.

As mentioned the end of this book makes me very sad, Susie coming back to earth and then wasting the time rather than using to help her family was out of character and made no sense because she can do everything in heaven that she could on earth. it kind of made me think i had missed something in the story but apparently not it is just a random moment. A more interesting ending George Harvey was needed. Death by ice not only implied that Susie some how managed to do it ( because she talks about killing with an icicle being the most perfect murder weapon) but it also seems so cheap for a book that is for the most part amazingly written and a joy to read. I would recommend this book but warn against the ending.