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Thursday, September 1, 2005

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YA Book Review: The Lovely Bones; By Alice Sebold

rate } ♠♠♠♠
genre } fiction | young adult | mystery 
release day } 29th August 2006
acquired } 20th June 2005
publisher } Little, Brown & Company 
format } paperback
isbn } 9780316166683
pages } 384 pg.
source } given
age group } pg 18
interest } pg 18 +
awards } Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel (2002), Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Adult Fiction (2003), South Carolina Book Award for Young Adult Book Award (2005), Iowa High School Book Award (2005), Puddly Award for Fiction (2003)
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The Lovely Bones; Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones
By Alice Sebold

Via Goodreads
Shockingly original and completely unforgettable, 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.

In the tradition of Alice McDermott, who wrote so elegantly about death in Charming Billy, Sebold unveils a book whose presence will linger with readers for a long, long time and signals the arrival of a novelist to be reckoned with.

My 2 Cents
*** SPOILERS ***

I wasn't really aware on what is the fuss all about when this book came out. I thought it would be just another chicklit so I should just avoid it like a plague. A couple of years later, I have stumbled onto this book once again and reread the reviews given by my friends. A nudge inside me told me I should just try reading it to see what's the hype was all about.

And I did!

Boy, I was wrong in all places about this book. The first page drew me in and I can't put the book down until I've finished it!

It's a haunting tale of the 14 year old, Susie Salmon (yes, like the fish), who narrated the tale of her life, her family and friends. She was raped and murdered  in the late 1973 and then resided in her heaven. She watched in bitterness as life goes on down below back on Earth. She watched the effects of her death upon the living. How her friends came together and become close with her family. How the obsession of looking for her killer also destroy her parents' marriage. She even watched her murderer went on with his life and met his other victims in heaven (although she has no idea who they were in the beginning).

This is not the tale of the tale of her death, which in turn not a detective story. But it's like watching a Hallmark movie (now that's an idea) revealing in the pages of your hands. It's more about loss, coping and affirming life after the death of a love one. Not just for the ones Susie left on earth, but also for herself in heaven. It’s heartbreaking reading her trying to reach her family, her friends and the guy she fancied. It pissed me off Susie didn’t get the justice she deserve, and her body ended up gone, couldn’t be found anywhere by her parents. Yet In the same time, I’m glad, her murderer got his karma and because of that, Susie gets to let go and move on.

If I like this book so much, why did I give it 4 spades? Because I hate the ending.. I wish they find her body and the murderer get caught.

Quote
“Each time I told my story, I lost a bit, the smallest drop of pain. It was that day that I knew I wanted to tell the story of my family. Because horror on Earth is real and it is every day. It is like a flower or like the sun; it cannot be contained.”

“Sometimes the dreams that come true are the dreams you never even knew you had.”

“Between a man and a woman there was always one person who was stronger than the other one. That doesn’t mean the weaker one doesn’t love the stronger.”

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