Review: Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones
Alice Sebold
Susie Salmon is dead. Not only that, she was raped and murdered by a neighbour. Her father suspects who did it, but has no proof. The policeman who is investigating lets him slip through his fingers. Susie can’t move on until she sees her family at peace.
I can’t believe how much time Susie spends waiting for her family to move on. Wouldn’t you get bored, after 8 years of looking and not participating? I guess that’s part of her ‘growing up’. I don’t see why she can’t grow up in the other world though. Who knows?
It’s a nice idea of heaven, but I find it hard to believe that in the next heaven there will be the people Susie loved in life, including her dog. How could they all possibly fit, if every person just had two more people who cared for them? It would be an exponential growth of people wanting to share lives together! At least it is something.
This novel pinged gently on my own beliefs about the afterlife. Ruth is a neat character, but I often wonder whether her life in the future will get any easier, or what path she will continue to tread. I can’t see her as a bartender for the rest of her life, paying for a flat so that she can walk the city in search of human touches.
Just like real life, things didn’t turn out perfectly, particularly for the side characters. I was frustrated that Susie held on to Ray so tightly. Ray also held on – and I thought he could have moved on. I felt for the poor boy who was accused of killing animals, and Susie.
It’s funny how such a touching and sensitive topic could be treated with such elegance that you feel compelled to keep reading. I found myself staying up late reading it. This is the second time I have read this novel, but the first reading was many years ago and I had forgotten how the story went. I can see it as a re-read when I want to feel deeply about something without really knowing way.

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