Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones

One night, I explored the parts of my bookshelf hidden by brand new literature. My hand ventured into the sections of my bookshelf that had gone unread. This includes Alice Sebold’s 2004 novel, The Lovely Bones. One page into the National Bestseller and I knew it was gold.

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"Hours before I died, my mother hung on the refrigerator a picture that Buckley had drawn. In the drawing a thick blue line separated the air and ground. In the days that followed I watched my family walk back and forth past that drawing and I became convinced that that thick blue line was a real place - an Inbetween, where heaven's horizon met Earth's. I wanted to go there into the cornflower blue of Crayola, the royal, the turquoise, the sky."

The Lovely Bones is a crafted narrative shared from the perspective of fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon from heaven. Lured into an underground unit beneath a cornfield in her neighborhood, Susie was murdered. Along the way, readers gain a stockpile of stories Susie references from childhood and past memories with school friends.

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From heaven, Susie watches as her friends and family deal with the tragedy and attempt to move forward.

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"Along the border of the soccer field, a few of my neighbors kept a respectful distance from the police tape, wondering at the men dressed in heavy blue parkas wielding shovels and rakes like medical tools."

What I like about The Lovely Bones is the voice and personality Alice takes in composing the piece of Fiction. Refusing to be categorized as another crime or mystery story, Alice writes in a refreshing tone and it is easy to notice her thoughtful attention in crafting each sentence. Before and after Susie’s murder, her youthful energy, curiosity, and perspective is never lost.

The setting of The Lovely Bones is almost local to where I grew up and currently live: Norristown, Pennsylvania. This, too, was territory Alice Sebold knew well and attended school in the Malvern, PA area.

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"Inside the snow globe on my father's desk, there was a penguin wearing a red-and-white-striped scarf. When I was little my father would pull me into his lap and reach for the snow globe. He would turn it over, letting all the snow collect on the top, then quickly invert it. The two of us watched the snow fall gently and around the penguin. The penguin was lone in there, I thought, and I worried for him. When I told my father this, he said, "Don't worry, Susie; he has a nice life. He's trapped in a perfect world."

A 5-star novel, I recommend everyone to add The Lovely Bones to your reading list. No matter your favorite genre, this book is sure to delight!

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Mesmerizing….The Lovely Bones takes the stuff of a neighborhood tragedy and turns it into literature.”

– New York Times Book Review

A stunning achievement.”

The New Yorker

The Lovely Bones seems to be saying there are more important things in life on earth than retribution. Like forgiveness, like love.”

Chicago Tribune
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*Feature photo from Study Breaks Magazine

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