The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is one of those books that I’d never have read a few years ago. And I’m not even talking about how I expanded my tastes after reading mostly SciFi/Fantasy about 10 years ago. I’m talking about the last couple of years when I’ve tried more ‘literary’ fiction.
However I remembered good reviews of The Lovely Bones and heard that Peter Jackson was making a movie so I thought it might be worth a look. It was.
The Lovely Bones is narrated (mostly) by Susie Salmon, who is 14 and is raped and murdered in chapter 1. She looks down on her family and friends from ‘her’ heaven and watches as the effects of her loss is felt.
The important thing to note about this book is that it’s not about solving Susie’s murder, or finding her body, it is about the relationships and the connections between her family and friends and how they are revealed by their corporate and individual grief. The times when I forgot that, when I felt the ‘murder-mystery’ plot was taking over, were times that I was setting myself up for disappointment.
But I did enjoy the family interaction and the slow coming to terms with Susie being gone.
I’m not entirely sure the device of having Susie narrate the book, with all the metaphysical baggage that requires, added much. Except that without it one of my favourite sections near the end wouldn’t have happened. I can’t be more detailed without spoiling it so I won’t.
7/10 – a good read, but if you’re looking for a murder-mystery, these are not the bones you are looking for.
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