The Lovely Bones is an amazingly constructed novel. The plotline centres about a young girl who is the last victim in a string of murders that span across several states in America. Susie Salmon is the young protagonist, and as a reader you immediately feel sorry for her; not for the fact she was murdered but for the fact she feels alienated in her own home. This leads to us later pitying her for the fact she never got the chance to change that, as her life was prematurely ended.
The book itself centres on the events that take places after she has died. This includes her experiences in a sort of purgatory, as she tries to make sense of what has happened and the move on, leaving all she knows behind. The novel is told entirely from Susie’s POV – although most of the time she is an observer to what is happening on Earth – even though she is dead, her presence is still felt by the living, especially by her father.
The book tackles difficult questions about how parents deal with the death of a child, and how other sibling evolve as people without the influence, and example, of the eldest sibling. The most though provoking question Sebold asks in the novel is “what happens after we die?” – it is a question we have all thought about one time or another. It is a question we all have unique answers to, and Sebold’s view is uniquely perfect in the sense we would all want to stay connected to our loved ones after we die. Sebold goes on to say that the dead must leave Earth and let the living live, in the same way the living must let the dead stay dead. It works a bit like a two way connection.
The Lovely Bones flawlessly highlights Sebold’s strange, yet sensible, thought process throughout the novel in the words, actions and thoughts of Susie Salmon. The book is written almost wholly as Susie’s monologue but the monologue actually belong to the author, not the character, like in some sub-par novels.
The Lovely Bones is a good read for anyone who is interested in the genre, but I would highly recommend to anyone who has an interest in moral questions. The novel is a realistic, and raw, account of the actions, and reactions that take place during this difficult situation. I as a reader, found hints of truth in the emotions and grieving processes of different characters, which resonated with me long after I put down the novel.
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