Finally, after seeing the film so many times, I got around to reading Alice Sebold’s “The Lovely Bones.”
The book, like the film, is narrated by Susie Samon, a fourteen year old girl who was murdered by her neighbour in winter of 1973. She speaks from her heaven where she watches her families lives unfold following her disappearance; her younger brother’s confusion, her sister’s anger as she and Susie become one to the rest of the world, her mother’s sorrow and her father’s need for justice and revenge.
Susie also watches Ruth, a strange girl she went to school with, and Ray, the boy she fell in love with before her death. Sometimes she even tunes in to her murderer Mr Harvey and listens to his longing for the remaining Samon sister.
I really enjoyed this book, more than the film. I found it easy to read but full of wonder and character. The narration from Susie’s point of view was beautiful as instead of seeing life through those left behind she is seeing life from her point of view despite being torn from her very own life. She is seeing everyone moving on and trying to pick up the pieces without her and her younger sister Lindsey overtaking her in first kisses and first loves which I found an interesting concept and a deeply saddening one.
I found her thoughts towards Mr Harvey interesting as she seemed to feel sorry for him instead of loathing the man who murdered her as I would have expected. Through Susie’s narration it was plainly obvious how much she missed and longed for her family and at points she was incredibly unhappy which contrasts the belief of being ‘in a better place’ after death where it is expected you would be happy and content. I liked the term ‘in between’ as this worked more with my beliefs and made more sense in terms of Susie’s feelings.
At times I felt the author had dragged on slightly and repeated herself as about halfway through the same types of events were happening and Susie’s narration was very similar so I did lose interest slightly which was a shame but I became more interested by the end as there is more in the book than the film, as often happens with film adaptions. I enjoyed getting to find out more about the years after Susie’s death as the film only focuses on about a year but the book follows eight years. I really grew to love Ruth and I had loved Lindsey Samon from the start until the very end as her character was full of rebellion and determination and was completely opposite from her sister. I found the character of Susie’s Father a bit weak but I’m not sure how that would have worked otherwise, after all his daughter was murdered.
As with the film, the character of Susie’s Mother stumped me a bit. I found her very neglectful of her children but under the circumstances couldn’t decide if I agreed with her or not. The book really made me think of different viewpoints and how one person’s life can influence so many others.
Definitely a good read!