The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

by Alice Sebold


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Once in a generation a novel comes along that taps a vein of universal human experience, resonating with readers of all ages. THE LOVELY BONES is such a book — a #1 bestseller celebrated at once for its artistry, for its luminous clarity of emotion, and for its astonishing power to lay claim to the hearts of millions of readers around the world.

"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. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, THE LOVELY BONES succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy.

The major motion picture version of THE LOVELY BONES, directed by Peter Jackson and starring Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and Saoirse Ronan is scheduled for release on December 11, 2009.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594223481
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 04/20/2004
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 11,304
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Alice Sebold is the author of three #1 bestselling books, the novels The Lovely Bones and The Almost Moon and the memoir Lucky. She lives in California with her husband, the novelist Glen David Gold.


Long Beach, California

Date of Birth:

September 6, 1963

Place of Birth:

Madison, Wisconsin


B.A., Syracuse University; studied poetry, University of Houston, 1984-85; M.F.A. in fiction, UC-Irvine, 1998

Read an Excerpt


My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. In newspaper photos of missing girls from the seventies, most looked like me: white girls with mousy brown hair. This was before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons or in the daily mail. It was still back when people believed things like that didn't happen.

In my junior high yearbook I had a quote from a Spanish poet my sister had turned me on to, Juan Ram?n Jim?nez. It went like this: "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." I chose it both because it expressed my contempt for my structured surroundings ? la the classroom and because, not being some dopey quote from a rock group, I thought it marked me as literary. I was a member of the Chess Club and Chem Club and burned everything I tried to make in Mrs. Delminico's home ec class. My favorite teacher was Mr. Botte, who taught biology and liked to animate the frogs and crawfish we had to dissect by making them dance in their waxed pans.

I wasn't killed by Mr. Botte, by the way. Don't think every person you're going to meet in here is suspect. That's the problem. You never know. Mr. Botte came to my memorial (as, may I add, did almost the entire junior high school-I was never so popular) and cried quite a bit. He had a sick kid. We all knew this, so when he laughed at his own jokes, which were rusty way before I had him, we laughed too, forcing it sometimes just to make him happy. His daughter died a year and a half after I did. She had leukemia, but I never saw her in my heaven.

My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer. My murderer believed in old-fashioned things like eggshells and coffee grounds, which he said his own mother had used. My father came home smiling, making jokes about how the man's garden might be beautiful but it would stink to high heaven once a heat wave hit.

But on December 6, 1973, it was snowing, and I took a shortcut through the cornfield back from the junior high. It was dark out because the days were shorter in winter, and I remember how the broken cornstalks made my walk more difficult. The snow was falling lightly, like a flurry of small hands, and I was breathing through my nose until it was running so much that I had to open my mouth. Six feet from where Mr. Harvey stood, I stuck my tongue out to taste a snowflake.

"Don't let me startle you," Mr. Harvey said. Of course, in a cornfield, in the dark, I was startled. After I was dead I thought about how there had been the light scent of cologne in the air but that I had not been paying attention, or thought it was coming from one of the houses up ahead.

"Mr. Harvey," I said. "You're the older Salmon girl, right?" "Yes." "How are your folks?"

Although the eldest in my family and good at acing a science quiz, I had never felt comfortable with adults.

"Fine," I said. I was cold, but the natural authority of his age, and the added fact that he was a neighbor and had talked to my father about fertilizer, rooted me to the spot.

"I've built something back here," he said. "Would you like to see?"

"I'm sort of cold, Mr. Harvey," I said, "and my mom likes me home before dark."

"It's after dark, Susie," he said.

I wish now that I had known this was weird. I had never told him my name. I guess I thought my father had told him one of the embarrassing anecdotes he saw merely as loving testaments to his children. My father was the kind of dad who kept a nude photo of you when you were three in the downstairs bathroom, the one that guests would use. He did this to my little sister, Lindsey, thank God. At least I was spared that indignity. But he liked to tell a story about how, once Lindsey was born, I was so jealous that one day while he was on the phone in the other room, I moved down the couch—he could see me from where he stood—and tried to pee on top of Lindsey in her carrier. This story humiliated me every time he told it, to the pastor of our church, to our neighbor Mrs. Stead, who was a therapist and whose take on it he wanted to hear, and to everyone who ever said "Susie has a lot of spunk!"

"Spunk!" my father would say. "Let me tell you about spunk," and he would launch immediately into his Susie-peed-on-Lindsey story.

But as it turned out, my father had not mentioned us to Mr. Harvey or told him the Susie-peed-on-Lindsey story. Mr. Harvey would later say these words to my mother when he ran into her on the street: "I heard about the horrible, horrible tragedy. What was your daughter's name, again?"

"Susie," my mother said, bracing up under the weight of it, a weight that she naively hoped might lighten someday, not knowing that it would only go on to hurt in new and varied ways for the rest of her life.

Mr. Harvey told her the usual: "I hope they get the bastard. I'm sorry for your loss."

I was in my heaven by that time, fitting my limbs together, and couldn't believe his audacity. "The man has no shame," I said to Franny, my intake counselor. "Exactly," she said, and made her point as simply as that. There wasn't a lot of bullshit in my heaven.

Mr. Harvey said it would only take a minute, so I followed him a little farther into the cornfield, where fewer stalks were broken off because no one used it as a shortcut to the junior high. My mom had told my baby brother, Buckley, that the corn in the field was inedible when he asked why no one from the neighborhood ate it. "The corn is for horses, not humans," she said. "Not dogs?" Buckley asked. "No," my mother answered. "Not dinosaurs?" Buckley asked. And it went like that.

"I've made a little hiding place," said Mr. Harvey. He stopped and turned to me.

"I don't see anything," I said. I was aware that Mr. Harvey was looking at me strangely. I'd had older men look at me that way since I'd lost my baby fat, but they usually didn't lose their marbles over me when I was wearing my royal blue parka and yellow elephant bell-bottoms. His glasses were small and round with gold frames, and his eyes looked out over them and at me.

"You should be more observant, Susie," he said. I felt like observing my way out of there, but I didn't. Why didn't I? Franny said these questions were fruitless: "You didn't and that's that. Don't mull it over. It does no good. You're dead and you have to accept it."

"Try again," Mr. Harvey said, and he squatted down and knocked against the ground.

"What's that?" I asked. My ears were freezing. I wouldn't wear the multicolored cap with the pompom and jingle bells that my mother had made me one Christmas. I had shoved it in the pocket of my parka instead. I remember that I went over and stomped on the ground near him. It felt harder even than frozen earth, which was pretty hard. "It's wood," Mr. Harvey said. "It keeps the entrance from collapsing. Other than that it's all made out of earth." "What is it?" I asked. I was no longer cold or weirded out by the look he had given me. I was like I was in science class: I was curious.

"Come and see."

It was awkward to get into, that much he admitted once we were both inside the hole. But I was so amazed by how he had made a chimney that would draw smoke out if he ever chose to build a fire that the awkwardness of getting in and out of the hole wasn't even on my mind. You could add to that that escape wasn't a concept I had any real experience with. The worst I'd had to escape was Artie, a strange-looking kid at school whose father was a mortician. He liked to pretend he was carrying a needle full of embalming fluid around with him. On his notebooks he would draw needles spilling dark drips.

"This is neato!" I said to Mr. Harvey. He could have been the hunchback of Notre Dame, whom we had read about in French class. I didn't care. I completely reverted. I was my brother Buckley on our day-trip to the Museum of Natural History in New York, where he'd fallen in love with the huge skeletons on display. I hadn't used the word neato in public since elementary school.

"Like taking candy from a baby," Franny said.

I can still see the hole like it was yesterday, and it was. Life is a perpetual yesterday for us. It was the size of a small room, the mud room in our house, say, where we kept our boots and slickers and where Mom had managed to fit a washer and dryer, one on top of the other. I could almost stand up in it, but Mr. Harvey had to stoop. He'd created a bench along the sides of it by the way he'd dug it out. He immediately sat down. "Look around," he said.

I stared at it in amazement, the dug-out shelf above him where he had placed matches, a row of batteries, and a battery-powered fluorescent lamp that cast the only light in the room-an eerie light that would make his features hard to see when he was on top of me.

There was a mirror on the shelf, and a razor and shaving cream. I thought that was odd. Wouldn't he do that at home? But I guess I figured that a man who had a perfectly good split-level and then built an underground room only half a mile away had to be kind of loo-loo. My father had a nice way of describing people like him: "The man's a character, that's all."

So I guess I was thinking that Mr. Harvey was a character, and I liked the room, and it was warm, and I wanted to know how he had built it, what the mechanics of the thing were and where he'd learned to do something like that.

But by the time the Gilberts' dog found my elbow three days later and brought it home with a telling corn husk attached to it, Mr. Harvey had closed it up. I was in transit during this. I didn't get to see him sweat it out, remove the wood reinforcement, bag any evidence along with my body parts, except that elbow. By the time I popped up with enough wherewithal to look down at the goings-on on Earth, I was more concerned with my family than anything else.

My mother sat on a hard chair by the front door with her mouth open. Her pale face paler than I had ever seen it. Her blue eyes staring. My father was driven into motion. He wanted to know details and to comb the cornfield along with the cops. I still thank God for a small detective named Len Fenerman. He assigned two uniforms to take my dad into town and have him point out all the places I'd hung out with my friends. The uniforms kept my dad busy in one mall for the whole first day. No one had told Lindsey, who was thirteen and would have been old enough, or Buckley, who was four and would, to be honest, never fully understand.

Mr. Harvey asked me if I would like a refreshment. That was how he put it. I said I had to go home.

"Be polite and have a Coke," he said. "I'm sure the other kids would."

"What other kids?" "I built this for the kids in the neighborhood. I thought it could be some sort of clubhouse."

I don't think I believed this even then. I thought he was lying, but I thought it was a pitiful lie. I imagined he was lonely. We had read about men like him in health class. Men who never married and ate frozen meals every night and were so afraid of rejection that they didn't even own pets. I felt sorry for him.

"Okay," I said, "I'll have a Coke." In a little while he said, "Aren't you warm, Susie? Why don't you take off your parka."

I did. After this he said, "You're very pretty, Susie." "Thanks," I said, even though he gave me what my friend Clarissa and I had dubbed the skeevies. "Do you have a boyfriend?"

"No, Mr. Harvey," I said. I swallowed the rest of my Coke, which was a lot, and said, "I got to go, Mr. Harvey. This is a cool place, but I have to go." He stood up and did his hunchback number by the six dug-in steps that led to the world. "I don't know why you think you're leaving."

I talked so that I would not have to take in this knowledge: Mr. Harvey was no character. He made me feel skeevy and icky now that he was blocking the door.

"Mr. Harvey, I really have to get home." "Take off your clothes." "What?"

"Take your clothes off," Mr. Harvey said. "I want to check that you're still a virgin." "I am, Mr. Harvey," I said.

"I want to make sure. Your parents will thank me." "My parents?" "They only want good girls," he said. "Mr. Harvey," I said, "please let me leave." "You aren't leaving, Susie. You're mine now."

Fitness was not a big thing back then; aerobics was barely a word. Girls were supposed to be soft, and only the girls we suspected were butch could climb the ropes at school.

I fought hard. I fought as hard as I could not to let Mr. Harvey hurt me, but my hard-as-I-could was not hard enough, not even close, and I was soon lying down on the ground, in the ground, with him on top of me panting and sweating, having lost his glasses in the struggle.

I was so alive then. I thought it was the worst thing in the world to be lying flat on my back with a sweating man on top of me. To be trapped inside the earth and have no one know where I was. I thought of my mother.

My mother would be checking the dial of the clock on her oven. It was a new oven and she loved that it had a clock on it. "I can time things to the minute," she told her own mother, a mother who couldn't care less about ovens.

She would be worried, but more angry than worried, at my lateness. As my father pulled into the garage, she would rush about, fixing him a cocktail, a dry sherry, and put on an exasperated face: "You know junior high," she would say. "Maybe it's Spring Fling." "Abigail," my father would say, "how can it be Spring Fling when it's snowing?" Having failed with this, my mother might rush Buckley into the room and say, "Play with your father," while she ducked into the kitchen and took a nip of sherry for herself.

Mr. Harvey started to press his lips against mine. They were blubbery and wet and I wanted to scream but I was too afraid and too exhausted from the fight. I had been kissed once by someone I liked. His name was Ray and he was Indian. He had an accent and was dark. I wasn't supposed to like him. Clarissa called his large eyes, with their half-closed lids, "freak-a-delic," but he was nice and smart and helped me cheat on my algebra exam while pretending he hadn't. He kissed me by my locker the day before we turned in our photos for the yearbook. When the yearbook came out at the end of the summer, I saw that under his picture he had answered the standard "My heart belongs to" with "Susie Salmon." I guess he had had plans. I remember that his lips were chapped.

"Don't, Mr. Harvey," I managed, and I kept saying that one word a lot. Don't. And I said please a lot too. Franny told me that almost everyone begged "please" before dying. "I want you, Susie," he said.

"Please," I said. "Don't," I said. Sometimes I combined them. "Please don't" or "Don't please." It was like insisting that a key works when it doesn't or yelling "I've got it, I've got it, I've got it" as a softball goes sailing over you into the stands. "Please don't."

But he grew tired of hearing me plead. He reached into the pocket of my parka and balled up the hat my mother had made me, smashing it into my mouth. The only sound I made after that was the weak tinkling of bells.

As he kissed his wet lips down my face and neck and then began to shove his hands up under my shirt, I wept. I began to leave my body; I began to inhabit the air and the silence. I wept and struggled so I would not feel. He ripped open my pants, not having found the invisible zipper my mother had artfully sewn into their side.

"Big white panties," he said. I felt huge and bloated. I felt like a sea in which he stood and pissed and shat. I felt the corners of my body were turning in on themselves and out, like in cat's cradle, which I played with Lindsey just to make her happy. He started working himself over me.

"Susie! Susie!" I heard my mother calling. "Dinner is ready." He was inside me. He was grunting. "We're having string beans and lamb." I was the mortar, he was the pestle. "Your brother has a new finger painting, and I made apple crumb cake."

Mr. Harvey made me lie still underneath him and listen to the beating of his heart and the beating of mine. How mine skipped like a rabbit, and how his thudded, a hammer against cloth. We lay there with our bodies touching, and, as I shook, a powerful knowledge took hold. He had done this thing to me and I had lived. That was all. I was still breathing. I heard his heart. I smelled his breath. The dark earth surrounding us smelled like what it was, moist dirt where worms and animals lived their daily lives. I could have yelled for hours.

I knew he was going to kill me. I did not realize then that I was an animal already dying.

"Why don't you get up?" Mr. Harvey said as he rolled to the side and then crouched over me. His voice was gentle, encouraging, a lover's voice on a late morning. A suggestion, not a command. I could not move. I could not get up.

When I would not—was it only that, only that I would not follow his suggestion?—he leaned to the side and felt, over his head, across the ledge where his razor and shaving cream sat. He brought back a knife. Unsheathed, it smiled at me, curving up in a grin.

He took the hat from my mouth. "Tell me you love me," he said. Gently, I did. The end came anyway.

Copyright © 2002 by Alice Sebold

What People are Saying About This

Anna Quindlen

If you only have time to read one book this summer, it's The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

Reading Group Guide

1. In Susie's Heaven, she is surrounded by things that bring her peace. What would your Heaven be like? Is it surprising that in Susie's inward, personal version of the hereafter there is no God or larger being that presides?

2. Why does Ruth become Susie's main connection to Earth? Was it accidental that Susie touched Ruth on her way up to Heaven, or was Ruth actually chosen to be Susie's emotional conduit?

3. Rape is one of the most alienating experiences imaginable. Susie's rape ends in murder and changes her family and friends forever. Alienation is transferred, in a sense, to Susie's parents and siblings. How do they each experience loneliness and solitude after Susie's death?

4. Why does the author include details about Mr. Harvey's childhood and his memories of his mother? By giving him a human side, does Sebold get us closer to understanding his motivation? Sebold explained in an interview about the novel that murderers "are not animals but men," and that is what makes them so frightening. Do you agree?

5. Discuss the way in which guilt manifests itself in the various characters - Jack, Abigail, Lindsay, Mr. Harvey, Len Fenerman.

6. "Pushing on the inbetween" is how Susie describes her efforts to connect with those she has left behind on Earth. Have you ever felt as though someone was trying to communicate with you from "the inbetween"?

7. Does Buckley really see Susie, or does he make up a version of his sister as a way of understanding, and not being too emotionally damaged by, her death? How do you explain tragedy to a child? Do you think Susie's parents do a good job of helping Buckley comprehend the loss of his sister?

8. Susie is killed just as she was beginning to see her mother and father as real people, not just as parents. Watching her parents' relationship change in the wake of her death, she begins to understand how they react to the world and to each other. How does this newfound understanding affect Susie?

9. Can Abigail's choice to leave her family be justified?

10. Why does Abigail leave her dead daughter's photo outside the Chicago Airport on her way back to her family?

11. Susie observes that "The living deserve attention, too." She watches her sister, Lindsay, being neglected as those around her focus all their attention on grieving for Susie. Jack refuses to allow Buckley to use Susie's clothes in his garden. When is it time to let go?

12. Susie's Heaven seems to have different stages, and climbing to the next stage of Heaven requires her to remove herself from what happens on Earth. What is this process like for Susie?

13. In The Lovely Bones, adult relationships (Abigail and Jack, Ray's parents) are dysfunctional and troubled, whereas the young relationships (Lindsay and Samuel, Ray and Susie, Ray and Ruth) all seem to have depth, maturity, and potential. What is the author saying about young love? About the trials and tribulations of married life?

14. Is Jack Salmon allowing himself to be swallowed up by his grief? Is there a point where he should have let go? How does his grief process affect his family? Is there something admirable about holding on so tightly to Susie's memory and not denying his profound sadness?

15. Ray and Susie's final physical experience (via Ruth's body) seems to act almost as an exorcism that sweeps away, if only temporarily, Susie's memory of her rape. What is the significance of this act for Susie, and does it serve to counterbalance the violent act that ended Susie's life?

16. Alice Sebold seems to be saying that out of tragedy comes healing. Susie's family fractures and comes back together, a town learns to find strength in each other. Do you agree that good can come of great trauma?

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The Lovely Bones 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4591 reviews.
Corey_P More than 1 year ago
When I first picked up The Lovely Bones I had a feeling it was a book I was going to like, there was so much hype about it and it seemed like it was becoming a modern day classic. As I began to read it more and more, not only did I like it, but I began to be so attached to the story and especially the characters, which the author ,Alice Sebold, writes about in great detail. The story is about a 13 year old girl named Susie Salmon who has a normal, but nice life. Her life is soon put to an end though once she is murdered by one of her neighbors. She than goes off to heaven and looks down on her murderer and on her coping family. Alice Sebold has made an imaginative story which has a wonderfully set up plot that features suspense, romance, some mystery, tragedy, and hope. The Lovely Bones is a book that I think everybody of all ages and gender should read.
saffie90 More than 1 year ago
I'm 13 years old but read at a very high reading level. This book, to me, was absolutely amazing. I will never forget it. The plot was amazing, the story line great. The emotion Alice Sebold puts into the book is literal, yet touching. A girl murdered tells the story of her life, then watches her family grow, have problems, and become better people from heaven. She watches the murderer of herself cover up his path. She watches her sister grow up. It's all very heartbreaking, yet very amazing. Truly a must-read.
sand7s More than 1 year ago
Very good book. I decided to read this book last year and I was not disappointed. It was better than the movie
LCH47 More than 1 year ago
THE LOVELY BONES was given to me to read. It would not have been my choice of reading material but somehow this gruesome, horrible thing that happened to Susie, the narrator speaking from HEAVEN, turned out to be one of the most heartwarming books I've ever read! WELL WORTH YOUR TIME! Other books that left me with a warm heart are THE SHACK, EXPLOSION IN PARIS, THE GUERNSEY LITERARY and POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I decided to pick up this book randomly when having the desire for a new read, a fresh one. A lot of my friends have read it and told me it was great, and its got a lot of hype (and is now apparently a movie) so I decided, why not? The story itself is interesting.. it kept me reading. Sadly there isn't really a climax because, in a way, there isn't really an ending... at least not a satisfying one. I thought the concept of the story was original (kind of) that the story was being told by a dead 14 year-old from her heaven. The events that take place keep you reading.. until a certain point. The book kind of comes to a stop and then slowly takes you to the end... and then a couple weird things happen, at which point before finishing the book you realize nothing is REALLY going to happen. But that wasn't really the thing that disappointed me. It was the fact that I felt I already knew the message and the "ending" of this story before I even read it. The "realistic" ending and perspective of this terrible situation, which didn't seem very satisfying to me. Though the message, I would say, is nice and can offer someone something to take away from it, that wasn't the case for me. I feel that this book would be an eye opener for someone much younger than me. At the age of 20, I have read too many novels, seen to many movies, and have gone through enough pain in my life to take away any valuable or inspiring message from this book. It's message was nice, like I said, but didn't do much for me and left me disappointed. Plus Alice's writing style kind of jumped around and could become confusing for some. So, overall, I would recommend this book to a 14-18 year old with good reading skills and is mature enough to read some slightly graphic material. Anyone older than that I don't think will get anything out of it or be moved by its message. The book is good, but just wasn't inspiring to me.
Coxiesclub More than 1 year ago
Although I have read this book some time ago, it left me and still leaves me not sad but very thoughtful of life, love, and wondering so many things at once that I was just plain a good way. I immediately had to recommend this to my friends. It is hard to describe. A very surprising read for me. It is probably one of the best books I have ever read, and this is not usually my normal genre of reading.
Maria_of_amor More than 1 year ago
At first this book is very unsettling. Having young children myself the heinous murder of a child-I am not giving anything away here- affected me deeply. The story reaffirms the fragile nature of life and the enormous consequences a loss of life has on family and friends. What started as a tragic tale transformed into one of love and redemption sweetly told by the victim, Susie Salmon. The book was not perfect.There were a couple of sequences near the end that seemed unnecessary or too contrived-I would be giving too much away here to expound. I gave it 5 stars because the book was unusual, thought provoking and it captured my interest from beginning to end. Read it. And love your children.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is hands down the best book I have ever read. Sebold thrills us with a depressing book of a little girl named Susie who is raped and murdered. She pulls on our emotions by separating the girl from her family by placing her in heaven only to contact them through the family¿s sad memories. The book harnesses our curiosity through the pursuit that slowly fades to find the twisted murder Mr. Harvey, a neighbor. It is prominent throughout the story that Sebold wants us to understand the steps of grieving. She shows how grieving families are ripped apart because they handle the death in their own individual ways. The mother and father grow farther apart as the father locks himself away in his own thoughts and memories. The mother longs for comfort and the necessity to extinguish her feeling of cold loneliness by convening feelings for the detective on the case. Her brother slowly grows into a boy plagued by anger for his mother upon her abandonment of her family. Her sister shuts herself off from her family and the world in a deep mourning for Susie. Though, she slowly comes to terms when she gains a steady loving boyfriend. Susie grows jealous from heaven enduring the fact that she can¿t solidify her feelings for a boy like her sister on earth. She is harnessed by the feelings she has for a boy named Ray who on earth she was becoming close to. He is deeply sorrowed and flashes back to their memories made in the short time after their first kiss. He becomes great friends with an outcast girl, Ruth who admired Susie and can feel and become in touch with spirits. Over the eight years in which the novel takes place Susie brings us deeply in touch with the members of her family and each of their steps in grieving. She is connected to earth because she cannot understand her own death. This is mainly in part of comprehending what is happening to those she loves but being unable to let go herself. Susie refers to the penguin snow globe in a way that we start to believe she is getting at a perfect world. I feel she is trying to open our eyes to search for perfection in the novel among the overwhelming grief. Sebold fascinates us with perfection by making us search in depth for it throughout the rest of the book, a perfection almost that could be thought to be exemplified in the Climax and end of the story.(to be seen upon reading the book) I am also deeply fascinated with the interlude in the book called Snapshots. Sebold captures our curiosity of the rolls and rolls of undeveloped pictures under Susie¿s bed. I feel she wants us to believe that the pictures are the memories of people¿s lives on earth that Susie has left behind. She wants us to better understand the choices people made from the pictures. The book can be described as a Supernatural thriller mostly in the part I will leave you hanging on. As Ruth and Ray become older and Susie longs for Ray because of her want to make love with him an extraordinary happening unfolds. While Ray and Ruth visit home they go to the sinkhole where Susie¿s body unfound sits in a safe at the bottom. After years of running Mr. Harvey is back in town and passes by the area only to connect eyes with Ruth while passing by. Susie feels an overwhelming tug to earth as Ruth blacks out on the ground connecting with heaven. Some supernatural occurrences take place leaving Susie with an inconceivable path towards acceptance and settlement.
HappyHappyPenguin More than 1 year ago
Hey, you teenagers and young adults! You should definitely read this book because of the attracting plot, realistic characters/situations, and realistic themes. If any of you have watched the movie, read a summary, or heard anything from those who have read this book, you might know that this book starts off with a graphically described rape and murder. Once I read the first chapter, my heart became attached to the next chapters, just to see how heaven is like and how the dead attach to the living, especially the murderer. The intricate details, themes, and individual stories of each character are absolutely amazing. Everything was so realistic that I had a hard time accepting the fact that this book is fiction. Even though some people may not believe in heaven, this book may change their minds. The Lovely Bones is strong and captivating in so many ways that I consider this as one of my favorite books of all time. The themes are family issues, friendship, haunting, love, and a little dab of suspense. Even though I didn't experience many family problems prior to reading this book, I do admit that that has changed. Because the book is told in first-person narration, I got to experience first-hand how Susie Salmon feels about the tragic splits within her family. Friendship also gets a spotlight. Susie Salmon dies when she is only 14 years old, but from heaven, she watches everyone grow older, from her murderer, to her friends/first love, to her siblings. In the book, the reader gets to see eight continuous years after Susie's death, which is enough time for her younger sister and friends, Ray and Ruth, to graduate from college. After reading this book, I thought, "WOW". Get this book the next time you go shopping!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The end of this book is very disappointing and feels a little rushed meanwhile was very slow throughout. It is supposed to make you value life/those around you, but leaves you hanging. You don't get closure with her murder and neither does her family.
Lesly Carazas More than 1 year ago
Saw the movie really liked it but the book is so much more .....
Mike Conard More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book. I couldent put it down.It is a quick read its better than the movie,and i loved the movie too.If you want a good book to read than this is it!!!!!!!
Lauren Brink More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. Quick read since I couldn't put it down.
MissyI More than 1 year ago
I truely loved this book! It was a sad story, the entire time you can feel the families pain of losing their daughter and never get justice. What makes this book different is that it is told by the main character has she views her on her family in heaven. The entire time you wonder if the killer is ever brought to justice and it upsetting that he does not. Easy read, I could not put the book down!!!
LOLisselle2015 More than 1 year ago
The Lovely Bones is a must read for all high school students and young adults. It truly deserved to be named the number one bestseller of 2002 because Alice Sebold, the author, developed the characters realistically, used an interesting point of view, and created a captivating plot that even attracted me, a non-reader. This novel was a touching story about a fourteen-year-old girl named Susie Salmon who was raped and murdered on her way home from school. It was partly a detective story and partly a family drama with morals that could teach young adults a little something about life. I found it so unique that Susie, herself, narrated her story from up in heaven as she watched her family cope with her death and her killer and neighbor, Mr. Harvey, use lies to get away with her murder. I mean, in what other book would a dead person be telling their story from heaven? Each of the characters were developed realistically. I got to know all of them in depth because I could relate to them so easily. Susie was raped and murdered by her neighbor, and so this book also taught me about that you can't trust everyone. Alice Sebold's poetic writing style truly enhanced the story. She used metaphors, like that in the prologue, where Susie talked about the penguin in her father's snowglobe and how it, now like her, was trapped in a perfect world. Throughout the story, Susie watched her family, her friends, her loved ones, and her killer as their lovely bones grew up and lived life without her. I have to warn you, though, that there are some inappropriate scenes in the story that may not appeal to all readers. Without any hesitation would I recommend this book to young adults and mature audiences. The way that Sebold described each of the characters realistically and set you up in a front row seat with Susie truly enhanced the story. This novel is amazing and it touched my heart and if you read it, it will not disappoint you.
Droseh More than 1 year ago
I loved this book because it showed a perfect ammount of mystery and love and fantasy!
AlainaBrown More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful! It's so heart wrenching and touching. This book is truly life changing. I would read any other book by this author. I recommend this book to anyone with a heart. You'll love the characters and to see how the grow and change. It truly is a lovely book. Read it!
heatherprice19 More than 1 year ago
The Lovely Bones is about a girl named Susie, who one day is murdered walking home from school. Her family is devastated by the sudden death of Susie. As the family tries to cope with their loss, Susie tries to lead her father to her killer. After months without a lead, Susie watches from heaven as her family begins to fall apart. Her sister Lindsey tries to stay strong with all the rumors at school and being known as the dead girl's sister. In the end, Lindsey realizes the truth behind Susie's murder. Be careful who you trust, because sometimes the killer could be right in front of you. I personally enjoyed reading this book. If you like reading mysterious books then this book is for you. At times this book can be really upsetting and sad. In some parts of the book it can be a little slow, but it picks back up pretty quick. Read and help Susie's family go on the search to find Susie's killer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is a great read. I didn't read it continually but when I wasnt reading it, I was thinking of it. I did skip a few lines because although she writes in great detail, but some of the elements could be omitted from the book and it would affect the book at all. Basically, there were certain elements or storylines to the book that i left weren't needed and just made certsin chapters boring snd easy to skip. But I loved the book and especially the ending, her last words of the book brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes. The ending was beautiful and sweet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heart warming book. So touching! I suggest this book to anyone.
Adollpuppet More than 1 year ago
I loved the story! Honestly it is a work of art.
sassybrat1999 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lexi08 More than 1 year ago
Her name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. Brutally murdered at the age of fourteen by a grim man who goes by the name of George Harvey, Susie was gone. The Salmon family has to learn to cope with the loss of their eldest daughter as she solemnly watches over them from her ¿heaven¿. Susie is forced to watch her family suffer while only attempting to find her murderer. Yearning for their beloved Susie, the family goes to drastic measures to let go. However, the dead, innocent young lady can¿t do anything about the happenings except simply; watch. This novel is a guaranteed tear-jerker beginning from just the first chapter. Constantly putting you in the character¿s position, The Lovely Bones hits close to home. Emotions of the situations and characters overpower you; sucking you into this read. However, this book didn¿t exactly have an identifiable climax. I can somewhat understand the excitement¿s absence considering the novel was supposed to be slow and depressing, but having a climax would have improved this book¿s quality by far. Specific portions of the novel were slow and seemed partially useless. Also, some parts were worded oddly causing them to be confusing. Personally, I think the years skipped around way to fast and unnoticeably. I thought Lindsey was still thirteen years old until the very end of the book. Expressing these important details more clearly would have helped me and I¿m sure others understand the plot of Lovely Bones a lot more efficiently. Most importantly, it would show the progression of the family¿s coping over time, which I feel is one of the most important themes in the book. However, what struck me the most was the conclusion. It was very confusing and the very last paragraphs didn¿t blend or relate well with the endings sentences. Considering the book was about a murder, you would expect the ending to be somewhat suspenseful. The ending truly left me and several others due to confusion. Overall, The Lovely Bones is a great novel for a mature adolescent or adult to experience if seeking a heartwarming, but perfectly devastating story of a desperate family and their passed daughter.
nic0l3 More than 1 year ago
The Lovely Bones book is a brilliant story about a teenage girl, Susie Salmon, who had lost her life to a mid-aged man(Mr.George Harvey). Alice Sebold's perspective of the story is told in first person, and Susie explains how heaven and the Earth are simply different. It must be challenging for Susie's family and friends that are left behind while she is in heaven. After her parents hired a detective, Len, the case seemed to have no other evidence to keep the case going. While the police stopped searching the town, Susie's father became skeptical about this whole murder. He began searching the cornfield which was across the street from the Salmon's house. This was where Susie had been buried by Mr. Harvey. Sebold uses a wide variety of imagery, from the scene to where Susie is killed, to where her father is being beaten. Mr. Harvey has an interesting childhood, because he and his mother would travel and live in their truck. It must have been a hard life, because he didn't have the comfort of a house like you or I. Sebold wants us to feel some sympathy for this man, and maybe this shows who he is today. I find it very interesting to see where people come from and how they mature and blossom into the people we all know today. Furthermore the story hit's a low, and we all hope that this murder with be revealed and who committed it. But then it starts to pick up when some stranger in the darkness hits Mr. Salmon with his bat, when he was upon the ground where underneath him his daughter lay. Hole I read this part it was like dramatic irony because you wanted to tell Susie's father that she was underneath him, but you couldn't. The highest most exciting part of this book for me would probably be when Susie's sister, Lindsey, broke into Mr. Harvey's house, she was suspicious of this man along with her father. Mrs. Salmon became annoyed by bringing up Susie's name, and who could have killed her. This question will haunt this family until.. You read the book and find out for yourself! Trust me it's a little graphic in the beginning but once you get set in the mood and everything, it's terrific. Happy reading!