The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely BonesGenre: Fiction, Mystery, Contemporary, Young Adult

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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 watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. To her great credit, Sebold has shaped one of the most loving and sympathetic fathers in contemporary literature.

Going into this book I didn’t expect a nice happy story, I knew what it was about – a young girl gets raped and murdered. Yeah not exactly hugs and fluffy bunnies. However after reading the book…it’s just so bad. I seriously was not expecting it to be this bad.

Everyone who talks about this book raves about it, it has won so many awards and has so many good reviews that I figured it was a sure bet that I was going to love it. However it was just so poorly written and although the premise is brilliant it is just so slow and unsatisfying.

Reading some of the reviews on goodreads so many people have commented on the writing and the use of descriptions, normally I try and write about things that everyone else hasn’t however just to prove how bad the writing is I feel like I have to follow the rest of the reviews and give you a snippet of the level of writing that you can expect:

She asked for a coffee and toast in a restaurant and buttered it with her tears

I’m sorry what?! Buttered it with her tears? The image I have is a woman collecting her tears and trying to spread them on her toast…not the image I think Sebold was going for when she wrote that line. Oh but don’t worry it gets better with this beautiful description of eyes:

Her pupils dilated, pulsing in and out like small, ferocious olives

Yep you read that right, ferocious olives. Of course because the amount of times I’ve come across an olive who is ferocious, so of course I completely understand this imagery of pupils looking like ferocious olives.

The plot itself is just so slow, the first chapter is amazing. Absolutely amazing, if my review was based on that one chapter it would be 5/5 no doubt. However after the first 16 pages…nothing happens. Like the family just stop, there is no real development to the plot at all, people just sort of…survive. I wouldn’t say continue living because it just feels like they are surviving. I know that losing a family member is a big deal and yeah it would upset your life however nothing happens in the rest of this story.

As we know exactly what happens during the first chapter (who died, who killed her etc.) there is no suspense, I’d understand if the story was about Susie trying to lead her family to the killer or at least to her body however there’s nothing, it’s just like reading about a really bad tv sitcom where nothing happens. Yes they try and continue their daily lives which is great for them but this does not make a fun story.

The only reasons I got through this book are that 1. I HAVE to finish a book once I start it 2. I had to read it for my book reading challenge this year. If those 2 reasons didn’t exist (although I probably would have stopped reading it if it weren’t for the challenge) then I definitely would have stopped reading after probably page 50 when I realised this book wasn’t going to get any better.

I understand that sometimes not all stories have a happy ending, I have accepted this however this book didn’t just not have a happy ending, it was just so confusing and things happened in the end that just seemed so random. I just found the whole thing extremely dissatisfying (don’t want to give anything away).

Normally I say give the book a shot, my views may be completely different to yours however with this book I really did not enjoy it and I wouldn’t give it the time of day if I were you. I would rather read the whole 50 shades trilogy again before rereading this book (and that is saying something). Please read the reviews of others first before you jump into this one. Never has a book taken me so long to read and I had to force myself to get through it. I wouldn’t recommend this book at all (sorry to those who loved it).

Rating: 1/5

Summing up: The book should have ended when the protagonists life did…at the start.


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