Review: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely BonesPublished: August 7, 2002 by Little, Brown and Company
Pages: 324
Format: Kindle Edition

“My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie.  I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.”

So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her – her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling.

The Lovely Bones, at its start, was horrifying and made me feel sick to my stomach, but I really wanted to know how things were going to be resolved, so I powered on. I felt like the book made me pretty invested in this family and their healing after what had happened to them, and then threw that all out in the window at the last minute.

I think part of my issue with the book was knowing Susie’s killer from the beginning. Seeing him evade police and others over and over again was extremely frustrating and didn’t keep the book interesting for me. I just wanted him to get caught and for it to all be over, but he kept narrowly avoiding being caught, or characters would come close to some bit of evidence and pass it by for whatever reason, and I found it absolutely infuriating.

Another complaint, though minor in comparison, is that we are introduced to a bunch of characters up in Heaven who seem to have little role in the story. There seemed to be a fair number of them and they would be dropped for 50-100 pages and then namedropped and I’d be like, wait, who? That pulled me out of the story a lot, especially towards the end, or any time there had been a big gap between the Earth and Heaven scenes.

I also was just not interested in Susie’s version of Heaven at all. It didn’t resonate with me for several reasons and I didn’t care for those aspects of the story. I wanted to know how Susie’s family was doing on Earth, and how things were going in the investigation, and I wanted things to be resolved, and the scenes in Heaven didn’t move any of those things forward. The handful of things I did like about this part of the story won’t be mentioned here due to spoiler reasons.

I liked the writing, for the most part (there were a few lines and phrases that I definitely side-eyed, though), but the story just went in a different direction from what I was expecting. Especially toward the end, I was just beyond enraged with the direction it went, and it really soured my opinion on a book I was already kind of teetering with in terms of my opinion.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>