On Her Way Home From School On A Snowy December Day In , Year Old Susie Salmon Like The Fish Is Lured Into A Makeshift Underground Den In A Cornfield And Brutally Raped And Murdered, The Latest Victim Of A Serial Killer The Man She Knew As Her Neighbor, Mr Harvey The Lovely Bones has got to be the most baffling, poorly written, jaw droppingly bad book that I have ever set my eyes on It is truly a black, black tragedy that the words in this book were placed in that particular order, published, and distributed How could this have ever possibly been popular Is it for the same reason that the song My Humps hit number one I mean, I don t technically believe in burning books, but this novel really got me thinking About burning it.If it serves any use at all, it might be a perfect guide on how not to write a book Here are some of my gripes, problems and issues that we can hopefully use to prevent something like this from ever happening again to us, our children, or our children s children It is filled with some of the worst sentence level writing that I have ever encountered From bad description to horrible grammar to utterly confusing metaphors, Sebold covered it all A tell tale way to spot a weak writer They can t stop weirdly describing people s eyes Don t believe me Try this sentence Her eyes were like flint and flower petals Or this one The tears came like a small relentless army approaching the front lines of her eyes She asked for coffee and toast in a restaurant and buttered it with her tears Really She buttered the coffee and toast with her tears Or this one, this time about someone s heart Her heart, like a recipe, was reduced What the hell And here s my favorite eye description in the book Her pupils dilated, pulsing in and out like small, ferocious olives That s right Ferocious olives I ve read MadLibs that make sense than that.It seems to lack a plot You know, that thing that books are supposed to have I ll never forget my first workshop with Brady Udall, in which he threw my story onto the table and said, This isn t a story, Sarah, it s a situation And as much as I despaired when I got home, he was right Sebold has the same problem her book is a really long situation A girl dies and watches her family from heaven Okay That s nice But what do the characters want What drives the story forward Nothing The characters get older and keep bumping into each other Things change, and things often do, but there is no forward movement and certainly no building of suspense.Since there s no plot, the ending is just a bunch of weird stuff happening I read the last thirty pages on the train this morning, and couldn t stop a few outbursts Oh, no she didn t I d say, talking to Alice Sebold and her crazy ways She is just plain bold when it comes to doing whatever she feels like, and she feels like doing the weirdest stuff ever It s not that I don t want to write spoilers here, it s that I can t even explain to you what happened at the end of the book And I bet she can t either I m not exaggerating.Her characters never have interesting or complex thoughts Not even the serial killer or the mother whose daughter was murdered It seems that Sebold s characters do one of two things they laugh which means they are happy or cry to butter their toast, somehow, when they are sad As you might guess, there is a lot of laughing and crying in this book When a character is confused, they laugh and cry at the same time This also happens often.I feel a little better after venting But I m still deeply sad and angry I feel like my own writing might have been permanently damaged by reading this book like a couple of ferocious olives One book, two rapes How s that for a bargain The book only advertises one Yuck.The book in question is Alice Sebold s The Lovely Bones I m not giving anything away by saying it s a book about a girl the narrator who was murdered That s revealed in the book s second sentence It s also not a big deal to let you know she was raped and murdered by a neighbour, George Harvey That all is related pretty early on What isn t revealed until maybe the last fifty pages is that the girl herself, Susie Salmon, becomes a rapist.Ideologically, I m not certain which one is worse I could be persuaded.But the way the book presents the two incidents is markedly different One is revealed in low lights and has a horror edge to it It s seen unilaterally as an evil, wicked deed The other is the book s highlight, the moment at which the author breathes a sigh of relief and says that everything else made right I suppose it makes sense the narrator probably wouldn t see her actions for what they were But in the end, both George and Susie deal with their childhood victimizations in that manner typical to the criminal genre these days.Both George and Susie had horrible things happen in their formative years that leave long lasting scars The only difference is that George Harvey lived and Susie Salmon died Not that it makes much difference Susie is as alive a character as George for the purposes of the story They both want what they want and care little for the well being of the women who get in their way The difference is that George Harvey is portrayed as the villain he is, while little Susie Salmon is treated as a hero.Those who have read the book may not have even noticed Susie s complete abandonment of moral sense or care for the woman she violates After all, she doesn t exactly couch things in those terms So here it is, laid out for you.When Susie was alive, there was a boy who liked her, Ray In the years after her death, Ray grows up to be, in the narrator s view, an attractive young man She watches him and loves him Somehow, events conspire to allow Susie to possess the body of Ruth, a friend of Ray s Susie uses the opportunity to seduce Ray and they make love several times in the course of a few hours And then Susie has to go back to heaven Leaving Ruth, a victim of Susie s power over her body.Imagine that you re Ruth You wake up Naked Probably a little tender Used In the back of some bike shop With a man in the shower That s what I call horror Not only was she not conscious or aware for any of the immediately preceding events, but the guy who s been really her only friend in the world is now naked and telling her that he screwed her brains out while she was unconscious And even if he doesn t tell her that, there s a very short rail of evidence and it all points to that conclusion And now She could be pregnant She could be diseased.Yep The crowning act of love on the part of the tale s heroine is little than a petty, rapacious act of power over the helpless woman who got in her way Good job Susie Salmon You and George Harvey should get along nicelychokengtitik
titikchokengs even though I called it a spoiler, I think that Alice Sebold spoiled the book Not me. The greatest first 30 pages ever The worst rest.Compare contrast with Haaaaaated it I am one of those OCD literary nerds who takes on a war bunker mentality with books that I ve started and dislike I will see this through to the end For The Lovely Bones, I made an exception.Somewhere, sometime, someone told Sebold she could write That person should be made to apologize to me, in person, and to all other poor souls who were duped into buying this shlock The literary press also needs to break out the cattails for a serious bout of flogging Lev Grossman of Time Magazine is at the top of my flogging docket he called this book a beautiful, sensitive, melancholy novel and repeated that claim a year later in a review for a book called The Dogs of Babel a book just as terrible as The Lovely Bones I can only assume that Mr Grossman confined his reading to the zeros on the check accompanying the publisher s blurb or else has some sort of vitamin deficiency that causes his brain to process ham handed tripe as beautiful art.It was Mr Grossman s review along with the alluring premise of the novel a young girl posthumously tries to make sense of the events that led to her death that led me to order The Lovely Bones and The Dogs of Babel, which at the time were only available in hardcover Financial reasons made this an extremely uncommon practice for me, and my experience reading both of those novels ensured that I would never do so again.To further illustrate how absolutely wretched this novel is, I m going to provide a paragraph of background The substance of the novel will be criticized in the subsequent body of this review.During the summer of 2003, I was occupying space as an intern at a company that accepted me at the last minute and had nothing for me to do The company was white collar and behemoth in office space HR sent me to an deserted floor to file documents that took up, at most, 2 hours of my 8 hour day Even in this vacuum of monotony, I could not finish this book I chose to watch paint chip away, and pick up dust bunnies with recycled paper I didn t have a broom rather than finish this book.So with that said, I suppose I should actually mention something specific about the book I hated My caveat here is that I am unwilling to punish myself by picking through a copy of the book for textual examples I m going by memory and online synopses alone.The narrator and victim is Susie Salmon Let me stop there SUSIE SALMON That really should have clued me in, but I was too eager to see how the author would represent the afterlife, to catch a glimpse of this beautiful pain of looking a life that goes on without you.Unfortunately, Sebold managed to bleach out anything remotely interesting out of the plot in spectacular fashion Heaven is a school, you see, not that Susie spends much time there or learns anything Her rapist and murderer is a creepy loser while somehow being the dullest of all of Sebold s numerous dull characters The reason for his murderous tendencies could be guessed by anyone who s ever even heard of a pop psychology book.You d think her family would at least be interesting in grief, but Sebold reduces them to one note drones Everything in The Lovely Bones is a gimmick, played cheaply for sentiment and with no other reward I d compare to a Hallmark movie, but Hallmark movies do not adopt the pretension that Sebold belabors with terrible pseudo post modernist metaphors All of this would be bad enough, but what made me throw this book aside with great force is the offensive, and unjustifiable resolution to Susie s laments that she did not get to live This unfairness, although poorly developed, was at least a cause of sympathy until Susie decides to forcibly correct it at the expense of others In the hands of someone else, this last turn could ve been bleak insight into motivations of the cycle of victimization but Sebold conveys not one iota of ambivalence.Much of my hatred of this novel results from its inexplicable popularity and commendation from people who have a responsibility to promote reading I shudder to think who else picked up this novel convinced it was the best that the contemporary literary world had to offer It is not my intention to slam those who enjoyed this book If you did, I am glad to hear it I love books, and I want others to love books I simply fear that someone who is tempted out of a long vacation from reading might pick up a novel like this and give up the cause for lost. I worked at Borders for than a year and I worked the boring ass registers, usually at night whic was always slow I leaned there with my chin in my hand staring at the shelves actually wishing that I could help customers in their purchases It s purely insane, but I think that s what happens anytime you place someone in any kind of confinement The thing is that if I wasn t a register girl, I would have constant actual contact with the books themselves All lunacy aside, one book that I stared at the entire time was this one, cuz it was literally on the number one shelf in the front of the store for a good two years or so It sounded interesting and got good critical reviews despite its sucess with the bookish Oprah watching housewife types So, I REALLY didn t wanna jump on the bandwagon and read it But at the same time I would open it and try But I just didn t get into it Last week or so, I was reading a friend s blog and she talked about reading the book and how it was so affecting that she found herself driving to work in complete tears From then on an invisible seed had been planted I went to the library the other day to pay my fines 2.75 Man and suddenly remembered the book I read it in three nights Sebold s voice is entirely unique Never seen it before ever I think that being allowed into the vision and point of view of another person is probably one of the awesomest feelings ever I think that s what it is to be in love, actually Get in someone s skin, sit in a recliner in a little theatre located behind their eye sockets, and just watch Not judge, not worry, not affect Just experience someone who is so not you Sebold allows this on two levels She sets you up in the front row seat right next to Susie the murdered and raped 14 year old while she watches her former world from Heaven But she also delivers this language that is new, original, totally fresh and yet entirely accessible At 3am In bed From a free city library borrow.Her characters are completely amazing individuals, but not unreal or impossible The way she wrote the book, from Suzie s viewpoint, was definitely some work on her part And she pulls it off What I really enjoyed is the way she would sneak in these little pieces of info I call them omg, are you serious mystery info nuggets She would just be writing a scene, and at an unsuspecting moment she d just add in a little sentence And ofcourse, since the story revolves around the grief of the family and the Susie s unsolved case, their are moment of utter thrill as the reader joins the characters in their search for understanding, motive and the killer himself The sentences feel like when you ve been looking for something non urgent for a while, and it s not really a big deal to find it now or later, but when you do find it your like, Man, now I can do this, and this and that, cuz I finally found this thing that I ve been inactively searching for for a while So, the nuggets definitely keep you reading and sometimes they even make you say, omg out loud As always, if you read the first few pages and hate it, then don t force the feeling Just cuz I thought it was a total modern classic, don t mean anything if it really ain t your thing Either way, truly a great story, even if your mom thinks so too. The moment I finished The Lovely Bones, I let out a long, slow and heavy breath.Because that was some damn satisfying ending.I strongly believe that if you go into this book thinking it will be creepy, scary, mysterious, fast paced and full of shocking revelations, you will be tempted to put it aside after the first sixty pages It s not only about the pedophilia, rape or murder It s not only about catching the killer And it s definitely not only about punishing Mr Harvey for what he did.The Lovely Bones follows the family and friends of Susie, a teenage girl murdered by her neighbour We see their reactions and coping mechanisms in full detail We see them fall apart and rise again Some lose themselves, but others find new reasons for existing Many try to find the killer, while others perpetually mourn her.At first, I was surprised to see that so many people have read this slow, repetitive and, at times, unexciting story But I understand why it s so acclaimed by critics The fact that it describes the lives of so many people after such a tragic event has happened is what makes it so different It s not just that the author shows the characters reactions she really gets into their minds and makes us understand why they behave the way they do, say things they wouldn t have said before and change in such a sudden manner.The characters are written in a way that makes us feel relatively detached from them, while still keeping an interest in understanding their actions Sometimes, I was bored by them.Still, I couldn t stop reading I needed to know how it would end and, frankly, that part really made me not regret reading this book in the first place.You re not exactly missing the world by not reading it, but it s the type of book that, despite its flaws, will make you remember how important life, family, love and friendship are Blog Youtube Twitter Instagram Google Bloglovin Two dimensional stereotyped characters Mother living with the regret of losing her independence to the demands of childrearing The tragic loss of a daughter accelerates her departure from those heavy burdens and into the arms of the detective working the case Father obsessed to the point that he neglects the living members of his family destroying his relationship with his wife Only in her absence is he able to fall in love with her all over again Detective his sob story past wife committed suicide explains his devotion to make sense of senseless death by solving cases of murdered women This leads him into the arms of the latest victim s mother who, incidentally, reminds him of his dead wife eww Mrs Singh the exotic, wise, independent, and strong foreigner who calmly dispenses cool sage like personal advice to near strangers George Harvey the odd but harmless neighbor otherwise know as the psychotic pedophile murderer who builds dollhouses in his spare time Queue soundtrack with mangled version of a nursery rhyme transposed to a minor key ungainly lobbed from a detuned piano Snippets from his mildly troubling childhood are revealed explaining nothing Grandma Lynn the often drunk but all knowing grandmother with a wacky liberal perspective on life I could go on the youngest sibling who sees the ghost of Susie as his imaginary friend, the sister who struggles to become her own person from under the shadow of her dead sister, her boyfriend as the complete antithesis to the evil Mr Harvey, her boyfriend s older brother as the macho gear head with a heart of gold.The NarrativeThere is only the occasional passage where the narrator s voice sounds like that a teenage girl from the mid seventies Lindsay had a boy in the kitchen oh the giddiness of it all Small blessings Clich after clich If you haven t already gotten a sense of the hackneyed construction of this book please re read the first page of this rant Only a sportscaster from some small town cable station would stand a fighting chance of besting Sebold in a contest of clich slinging.The EndingWorthy of Hallmark Every loose end is tied up with nobody owning up to the consequences of their actions with the exception of Mr Harvey, because he s bad, you see The family is reunited, the murderer is murdered, the daughter marries her high school sweetheart and has a child of her own thus proving that life does go on sniff , and lastly, the teenaged ghost of murdered Susie Salmon transcends her personal minor heaven a staging ground for spirits who persistently cling to the living world by falling back to earth, inhabiting the now 20 something body of a lesbian acquaintance in order to trespass into another person s home and have sex with the now 20 something boy she had a crush on shortly before her murder The moral Only after wilfully experiencing the delightful carnal pleasures of the flesh can one, even the spirit of a murdered teenaged girl, let go of those lost earthly pleasures and move on to a higher and presumably enlightened plane of existence where you are free to smite those that have wronged you Touching, really.The Lovely Bones reviews Why do they always say brutal murder or brutal rape Is that opposed to the wonderful murders and superb rapes in other novels Did any of these reviewers even read the book They just seem to be reading each other s reviews, praising the unique first person narrative of a protagonist in heaven and how it deals with such a horrifying topic The fist person perspective does not offer anything new and the only thing horrifying here is that people consume mind numbing garbage like this at an alarming rate There s nothing new here What was the point Aside from, paranormal sex is a wonderfully liberating experience for both the possessive spiri This book has single handedly shown me that I spend too much time skimming and not enough time really reading and thinking about the books I have been reading I have two kids and so I m busy and I often find myself reading when I am stealing time or tired But that is not even an excuse for this book When i read the book I thought it was pretty good Not great, but not bad I liked the concept and the fact that the girl was the narrator I like a murder mystery, so I liked the suspense of waiting to see if the guy would get caught, etc So when all was said and done and I finished the book, I thought yeah, okay Not bad, but not great Then I went online here and read the other reviews, particularly one by TheDane and I went HEY That s right I mean, the writing alone is something I should have picked up one had I really been paying attention Pupils pulsing like olives Buttering toast with tears Umm I really must have been distracted or skimming like crazy because that is ridiculous And the real meaning of the final scene went WAY over my head, which I am somewhat ashamed to admit When I read it, I really was like, yeah yeah, oh that s sweet she got one night with her boyfriend which she had been cheated of and all But when you slow down and really think of this, the enormity of that is overwhelming A young girl who dies after being RAPED A girl who s first sexual experience was RAPE by an older man A girl who actually barely knew this boy in her life This girl can only let go of life after having sex With that boy That she really didn t know that well That alone is enough to send of some big alarms But then you add that she was allowed to go back to earth to have sex Not see her family, not comfort her father and brother and sister Not point out the killer Nope, heaven lets her go back, then of all times, not earlier when she wanted it , or could have done both for justice and her family So the admission to heaven is teen sex Really The way to overcome deep grief and gain acceptance and peace is. again, teen sex Wow I missed out as a teen because that was NOT my experience Okay, now louder warning bells should have been going off But the final issue she takes over the body of a friend Without the girl s knowledge or permission The friend who is a lesbian And uses her body to have sex with a boy Just taking over her body is a violation Taking over her body and using that time to have sex is another violation And to have sex with a boy, knowing that is the antithesis of everything this friend would have wanted or agreed to is yet another violation What the hell And none of that gets brought up or mentioned No, it is a feel good ending yeah I mean, I have some pretty close friends some I have known for at least triple the time these two girls have known each other and if I somehow managed to just steal their bodies and have sex with a woman Well, it would be good for me that I was already dead That is a betrayal in the worst sense on so many levels it is shocking And what of the possible consequences Pregnancy STDs Never mind the lesser consequences of emotional damage, damage to their friendship, the trust issues, etc etc etc After thinking about it and , I was truly embarrassed to have not seen these dark and disturbing connotations, made all the worse for the fact that the author serves this up as the feel good ending not noticing the irony at all of having the main character who was raped and violated in turn rape and violate a friend, while denouncing the first act as a heinous crime and lauding the second act as happy ending So in short, I have learned my lesson and I am now making of an effort to truly read and then think about what I am reading The lovely bones, Alice SeboldThe Lovely Bones is a 2002 novel by American writer Alice Sebold It is the story of a teenage girl who, after being raped and murdered, watches from her personal Heaven as her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives while she comes to terms with her own death The novel received much critical praise and became an instant bestseller A film adaptation, directed by Peter Jackson, who personally purchased the rights, was released in 2009 2003 1382 495 9643740285 1383 1384 1386 21 1382 435 9644423682 1383 421 9645881536 . I read this book after watching the movie because it was the first time I heard about it First, I have to say that I liked the movie very much and I ve seen it several times The scenes from In Between are one of my all time favourites And the moment when Susie s father destroys the ships in bottles is just the best it keeps popping on my Youtube because I just watched so many times So, if I go a couple of moths without watching it, Youtube is like Here, watch it Usually, I m not much of an audiobook gal, but if there is a version which was narrated by Saoirse Ronan, I m gonna listen to it My name was Salmon, like the fish first name, Susie I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.Anyway, why am I talking about a movie here, right Because I saw it first, I did not compare it with the book, and I believe if I knew the book previous to watching the movie, I would see it in a different light However, right now, I see them as two separate entities, there is a movie I enjoy, and a book which is fantastic and both have the power to break my heart And I was gone It s very hard to describe this book without spoiling much All I m going to say that even reading quotes gives me the tension feeling in my jaw, which I usually have right before I m about to cry It just breaks my heart Because of Susie Because of the real Susies who go through the same thing she did Because of their families And because Georges Harveys exist in the real world The living deserve attention, too But I have to say that this book is right up my alley, I enjoy books when people die and get a chance to relive their last day to make things right, where they are still there and watch their families It might not be for everyone definitely something to consider before picking up this book.