Author: Alice Sebold
Country: United States (2002)
Challenge: Dangerously Read
I returned yesterday from my brief trip to nature, back into the 'real world' and feeling nicely unwound and refreshed. As mentioned in the previous post, I have finished two books thus far (both on my Dangerously Read Challenge).
I picked up Lovely Bones right at the start of January 1st. This has been on my TBR list for-ever! I've read so many great reviews out in the blogosphere that I knew I was just going to adore it. I mean, how often do we get to hear the voice of a murdered fourteen year old spying on her friends, family, and assailant? Trust me when I say I really wanted to rave about this book. But I can't. It's not as though there was anything terrible or disappointing about The Lovely Bones. The narrator, 14 year old Susie Salmon ("like the fish") is both an endearing and believable voice. (I especially thought the description of Susie leaving her tortured body was painted perfectly). She struggles with being in Heaven and separating herself from her human life. I felt author Alice Sebold also did an excellent job portraying what the death of a child does to the family left over. Grief is handled distinctly different for each individuals involved. Jack, the father, internalizes the sorrow and holds on tightly to his relationships with his other two children. Alternatively, Abigail, the mother, tries to desensitize herself from the anguish and pushes herself away mentally, emotionally, and eventually physically from the family.
So why did I only feel slightly warm toward this novel? I think that it is merely just a case of having read so many positive comments about The Lovely Bones that it was near impossible to meet my expectations. I would still recommend this book, and from an educator's point of view, it opens the door for many literary elements to be taught. I just was not emotionally captivated as I expected. On a slightly relevant note, Alice Sebold is also the author of Lucky - her memoir in which she shares her account of being raped in college and having heard a police officer exclaim that she was lucky to be alive. I have this on my bookshelf and will read it in due time. Also, evidently The Lucky Bones is becoming a a film which should be released in December 2009. I'll be curious how the director sets up Heaven and how Susie's voice is handled (usually voiceovers are unbearable, in my opinion).