Book Review: The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones
By: Alice Sebold
Published By: Little, Brown & Co.
Publication Date: July 2002
Page Count: 328
Buy it at Amazon or IndieBound
Source: Owned by Reviewer
Audience: Adult 

The Lovely Bones is a heart-breaking journey into the life and death of Susie Salmon, a teen whose killed on her way home from school one afternoon. The story is a difficult one and there were moments that were extremely hard for me to get through, but despite the subject matter this book is one that caught my interest and refused to let go.

This book seems to be one of those that you love or hate. I fall on the side of team love. The language is beautiful and Alice Sebold is a strong writer. She breathes such life into her characters and teaches readers about the emotions associated with tragedy. Watching Susie's family deal with her death was painful and I wanted to intervene to soothe their pain. The aspects of the afterlife were fascinating. Death is one of those things that equally intrigues and frightens me. Susie serves as the narrator and through her eyes we learn about the afterlife as well as how those left behind attempt to cope.

If you can make it past the difficult subject matter, which includes not only the murder of a teen, but also rape, then you will appreciate the efforts of Sebold. This is one of those books that will haunt you long after you have finished the last sentence. You will ache for all that Susie has lost and cheer for the resiliency of the human spirit that her family showcases.

One Last Gripe: I didn't like that Susie's family was never able to find her body. This really bothered me and made it hard for me and the characters to find closure.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: Sebold's writing

First Sentence: My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name Susie.

Favorite Character: Susie

Least Favorite Character: The Killer

When we first meet Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. As she looks down from this strange new place, she tells us, in the fresh and spirited voice of a fourteen-year-old girl, a tale that is both haunting and full of hope.

In the weeks following her death, Susie watches life continuing without her -- her school friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her family holding out hope that she'll be found, her killer trying to cover his tracks. As months pass without leads, Susie sees her parents' marriage being contorted by her loss, her sister hardening herself in an effort to stay strong, and her little brother trying to grasp the meaning of the word gone

And she explores the place called heaven. It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets. There are counselors to help newcomers adjust and friends to room with. Everything she ever wanted appears as soon as she thinks of it -- except the thing she wants most: to be back with the people she loved on Earth.

With compassion, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie sees her loved ones pass through grief and begin to mend. Her father embarks on a risky quest to ensnare her killer. Her sister undertakes a feat of remarkable daring. And the boy Susie cared for moves on, only to find himself at the center of a miraculous event.


  1. i like you format, reminds me a little of my own. and I agree it does bother me that they never find Susie's body.

  2. This has been on my Wishlist far to long, I must read it, maybe I will start the new year with it.

    The tragedy of not finding the body, that has to be the worst for families.


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