Monday, 20 June 2011

My Book Review: The Lovely Bones by Alice Seebold

I loved this story because of the seamless transition this novel implements between scenes, whether moving forward or travelling back through the history of events covering a period of around eight years, without the need to keep track of time. However, events anchor and tie the reader to the timeline.

A rich text prevents this poignant novel from becoming macabre, despite handling the brutal and horrific rape and murder of a young teenager, a death that should never have occurred. Susie is captivating despite existing between the worlds of the living and the dead as she watches from intermediate heaven as each family member of her family takes a diffident course in how they handle the loss of Susie, and each response is significantly different depending on their individual burden. Susie provides us with snapshots of her life when she was alive and she tells us what she sees as she watches her family from heaven.

Her father struggles with his grief because he could not protect his darling daughter / her mother experiences a greater loss as she watches her family life unravel / her baby brother can see his dead sister but no is listening to him / and her sister suffers in silence and isolation and worse than this she looks like her dead sister.

Alice Seebold handles and portrays each character with love and compassion even if they are veering off course in their personal grief. Events are cleverly drawn out and wrapped into a tight intertwined plot that shows each characters flaws and themes are handled gently as we watch the family deal with and attempt to come to terms with events. We see how much they need each other despite travelling in different directions.

The binding thread running throughout this story is the wonderfulness versus the awfulness of family life, showing us how much we need each other especially when terrible events, over which we have no control, occur. For me the most haunting memory of this story is the porch light being left on…

And finally the evil baddie is well portrayed, his confidence is graphic, his unerring nerve to remain within this community committing heinous deeds against young women is harrowing.

I adored reading this book because it grabbed all my attention and for this reason I would recommend that you read this novel if you’ve not already found it.

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