Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Review: The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder, a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting you say? Remarkably, first time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family's need for peace and closure. 
The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished. 

Sebold creates a heaven that's calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive and then some. But Susie isn't ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watch her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. 

The Lovely Bones is inspiring as it is a thriller. Alice Sebold manages to capture all the perspective of all the people Susie left after her death. Not even Mr. Harvey's, the murderer. She didn't miss to show the differences in perspective including the ones Susie met on Heaven. Every details has its corresponding role in the turn over of events. It may be an exaggeration that the family was never really able to move on without a day passing even up until 8 years after her murder. Yet on top of that, who are we to judge? In as much as I hate to admit, Susie did not die of natural death. Which makes this one not for something to be passed at. It's fiction and reality twist and weaved into one. 

It's a Father-Daughter Love Story something often neglected in a plot so twisted, people fail to see the real deal. The more major theme and the one more emphasized on by the readers is that it moves from the norm that souls rest in peace only when justice is served, the soul moves on when his family, the people he loves move on as well. 

In quite a contrasting move, the relationship in the story often focuses on the strong points of maturity of the younger generation, most unlike to the willful separation and childish present that radiates from adults characters.  Another strong focus of the plot was Lindsey's character who was often seen for what she is not but by what made her due to the tragedy that happened to her family. Lindsey broke into the house of Mr. Harvey, found out her mom is having an affair and at some point has been the object of lust of her sister's murderer and conscience as well. At her age she was able to cope up, be the strong wall foundation of her drifting parents and the hand that guide his little brother growing up. 

Another emphasis is Ruth's character and body that serves as Susie's only call to the other side. There was also the never recovery of Susie's body which may implies why the family was never able to let go easily, especially his Father who still holds onto the fact that their daughter is alive and is just out there somewhere, holding. in contrast to another area of discussion: the adultery her mother committed because she found a way of escape in the form of Len Fenerman's lust, a point which is strongly emphasized by her mother leaving and living with the anonymity where she found solace.

Spoiler: There was never a happy ending like most people anticipate. No justice was served, I personally think the death of Harvey has no way of making up with his crimes, ending is pending but then that is all the book is about: how and until when will Susie be able to make it to Heaven, not just in the Inbetween. 

There's a lot to discuss as it covers a broad and expansive topic. Family, Death, Justice, Love--all the kinds you always neglect, Moving On. But that's the thing about this book, it came around and compacted all that emotion in a limited paper space. And that's good enough reason to read this one. 

I personally think the movie was a good rendition of this book. Mark Wahlberg did a good job as Susie's Father. And well, Stanley Tucci, I think he can play any role he's given. This was another book I get to read after watching the movie and learning after that it was based from a book. This is crazy. 

Rating: 8.5/10


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