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review 2018-07-19 14:42
Heartbreaking
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

I read this book back in 2003. I remember buying the hardcover from a random book shop in D.C. (can't recall the name of the store) and started to read this book while on a bus heading back from the Pentagon metro stop. Within an hour I was in tears and just read it until I finished it sometime before dawn. This book grabbed me back when I was 23 and it still grabbed me more than a decade and a half later at 38. Sebold wrote this book in response to being raped and she takes all of that pain and anger and wrote something that I believe will eventually be considered a classic. That said there are some nits here and there in the book that don't work, she has the main character at one point inhabit someone's body and I don't even want to discuss it anymore cause it was weird and off-putting. The only really false step I got while reading this.

 

"The Lovely Bones" is about 14 year old Susie Salmon who tells you about how she came to be raped and murdered. Her bones (the lovely bones in this story) are hidden and her family has to deal with the fallout from her disappearance. When a part of Susie is eventually found, her family then has to deal with knowing she is murdered and nver coming home. Sebold provides updates on via Susie about her family, the man who raped and murdered her, as well as a boy she had a crush on before her death.

 

Susie's character was heartbreaking. Reading about her rape and murder was awful. You want to reach into the pages and keep her safe. I kept wishing for a different ending while reading this book. When Susie is gone, her soul races off to her own personal heaven and from there she keeps an eye on things. Parts of the book made me cry a lot. Reading about Susie meeting and hanging out with her grandfather and the other friends she makes in heaven are wonderful. 

 

Susie's sister Lindsey is dealing with having suspicions on the man she believes killed her sister and trying to hold on to her family as they slowly disintegrate. The younger brother Buckley is having to adjust to having a family that he remembers before Susie disappeared to after where everything seems to be focused on her. 


I didn't really like Susie's mother. I get people act to grief in different ways, but how she chose to deal with things made me feel sad. I do applaud Sebold though for not trying to sugarcoat things and also for the family to not rush to bring her back into the family fold.

 

The writing was poetic at times. Sebold has a very strong grasp of words. I could picture everything that was happening perfectly (sometimes too perfectly). 

 

“My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered.” 

 

“Murderers are not monsters, they're men. And that's the most frightening thing about them.” 

 

The flow for the most part was really good. Things just got slow towards the end in my opinion. You are just wanting to get to the end.

 

The setting of the book takes place in Pennsylvania in the 1970s and then through the next few decades. 

 

The ending comes for a whisper almost with Susie starting to move on, but still watching her family. She wishes the reader a long and happy life. 

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review 2018-02-11 10:49
The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

I'd seen the movie before picking up the book, and I think a lot of people will have heard about The Lovely Bones. Susie, after being raped and murdered by her neighbor, keeps looking at her family and friends as they try to continue with their lives.

I quite liked the concept, but found the story was a bit too sentimental. Also, Susie still has some ways to interfere with the 'real' world, which I didn't particularly liked.

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review 2017-11-02 20:11
A Young Adult novel for all ages about family, friends, and life with a positive and inspiring message.
Silhouettes - E. L. Tenenbaum

I write this review of behalf of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie Amber from Rosie’s Book Review Team (if you are an author and want your book reviewed, check here) and to the author for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

Brooke is an 18 year-old-girl who is popular (although not as popular as cheerleaders are), the captain of the dance group, a volunteer at her local hospital (in the children’s ward), a good student, a beloved daughter and sister (to her 14 year-old brother, Aaron), who has very clear plans for the future and a lot of life ahead of her, until she is killed in a car crash. She discovers then that although she is now dead, she is still hanging around, and can follow her friends and family, visit the familiar places where she used to spend her time, but she cannot interact with anybody or make herself known to the living. She meets other silhouettes (as they look like somewhat less solid and more transparent versions of themselves), but they don’t seem to have much in common with her until she meets a young boy her age, Tyler, who used to go to the same school but didn’t cross paths with her. While he knew who she was, she had never noticed him. As there is little to do other than wander around, and neither has any idea of why they are still there, they spend time together and discover things about each other, and also about themselves.

The story is narrated in the first-person from Brooke’s point of view. Although she is angry and devastated to begin with, she is also very concerned about her family and friends and tries to help but does not know how. Her memories of those around her are heart-warming and feel real. What she remembers are the little moments, not the big occasions, and she talks about her friends and family in a loving way. Although she is shocked by some of the things she discovers about others, she also gains an understanding of what is really important. She realises that she was living in a bubble and there were aspects of the town and of its people’s lives she’d never noticed. The language is beautiful and lyrical at times, without being overly complex. Tyler played the guitar and composed songs with his friend Dylan, and the lyrics of these songs are like poems, that give us a moment of pause and sometimes encapsulate and sometimes enhance the rest of the text. Although the interaction between the two characters feels true, and they remain psychologically consistent, they are both fully aware that what they are experiencing is not the same as they did when they were alive, and there is a new sense of detachment and perspective that they have been granted by their situation. Being granted time and distance to think without the pressure of trying to conform to other’s expectations is illuminating.

The relationship between Brooke and Tyler develops slowly and it is clear that they are there to help each other, even if the details are only revealed at the end. Like with some of the other secrets we discover throughout the book, I was not surprised by the revelation, but what is really important is the characters’ reaction to the revelation and that is both understandable and perfect. Although it might seem strange to talk about happy endings in a novel that centres on dead characters, I think most readers enjoy the ending and feel inspired by it.

I highlighted many sentences and paragraphs, as the novel manages to capture many of the questions we all wonder about and provides insights and inspiration without ever becoming preachy or adhering to a particular faith or religion. But here come a few one to give you an idea:

Diamonds hide in a lump of coal.

Here Brooke is talking to Tyler, trying to convince him they should go to school.

“What else are you gonna do?” I asked. “No one will see you anyway. You’re safe. They’ll walk right through you.”

“Great. Just like when I was alive.”

Brooke observes: Words like that should never have reason to be said at all.

“You don’t need to do some momentous thing that changes the world or say things that everyone puts on wooden signs to have made a difference. It’s doing things in your way, the way you laughed, and cried, and hung out, and lived, and just were, that’s what your mark is, even if you can only find it in ten people instead of ten thousand.”

A YA novel that can be read by people of any age (there is no use of swear words, violence or sex), that makes us think (yes, and tear up too) about family, friendship, memories, and life. A positive and inspiring read I’d recommend everybody. I know many readers are wary of reading books about children’s deaths, especially those who have been touched personally by it. Although I cannot offer my personal perspective on the matter, I’d suggest trying a sample of the book before making a decision. The novel put me in mind of The Lovely Bones and I would recommend it to readers who loved Sebold’s novel but were perturbed by the most gruesome aspects of the plot. E. L. Tenenbaum is an author I didn’t know but I’ll be watching closely from now on.

 

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review 2017-02-03 11:32
# 9 - The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

This one will definitely categorised in the "books that made me cry". I did not really cry, but my throat was often really tight and my eyes watering.  This is a tragic story. So beautifully told. It is sad, but it is also full of hope.

Some recents event made me even more emotional about this. But it gave me hope, I like to think they are in their heaven watching over us all, and most importantly, they are together.

This book was heartbreaking.  The death of Susie (it's really no spoiler) was not sad, it was tragic but told in a "practical" way. No, what was sad was Susie watching over the people she loves, the people she used to know. Seeing how their lives were going on without her. How her mother needed space, her father was devastated and her siblings had a really hard time.

This story was beautifully written. The plot had no real importance, it was there to show you that life is going on, you cannot stop it. What was important in this book were the words used by the author.
I really recommend it if you are in the mood for a sad/beautiful book.

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review 2016-11-02 00:00
The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold DID NOT FINISH.. BORING
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