Monday, December 27, 2010
The Lovely Bones Review
Well I am officially one step closer to my 50 book goal as of a few minutes ago. I finally finished The Lovely Bones which in all honesty lives up to its name, and then some. I will try not to mention much about the plot but in the first paragraph of the book you find out the main character is murdered. So I was a little skeptical how the book would hold my attention throughout my read-through seeing as it told me all the details (including the murderer!) within the first paragraph or so. But it definitely kept my attention. There wasn't a dull moment.
To give you a taste of the book, here's the first paragraph:
"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."
I felt that the book was pretty detailed about certain things without being overly meticulous in the description of certain things, which I really enjoy in a book. The time period helped give a special setting to the book and the way Susie narrated made me feel like I was sitting with her and she was reading it to me. I think the author (Alice Sebold) told it like that on purpose, but if not, more power to her.
The place where Susie is stuck, which she calls the "Inbetween" (between Earth and Heaven) is heavenly in that she doesn't age (as the characters do in the story, she stays exactly the same as the day she died) but the people she meets and friends she makes still do kind of earthly things. She talks about going to school, except she "could run through the halls yelling and nobody would care."
I don't want to give a too in-depth review because it might spoil some things (or I may have already, in which case I'm sorry). There is a lot to love about the characters; there are quite a few main characters that progress the story after Susie dies. Her father, Jack; her mother, Abigail; her younger sister, Lindsey; her younger brother, Buckley; her grandma, Lynn; and her killer, Mr. Harvey (who is played by the amazing Stanley Tucci in the movie adaptation, and who subsequently got nominated for an Oscar for his role).
Speaking of the movie, which I saw several months ago before reading the book (I had no clue there was a book when I saw the movie), I thought that the movie was well written and superbly cast. It was directed by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings, King Kong, District 9) and I felt that he did a pretty good job at staying as true to the book as possible. However, the book spans almost a decade after Susie's death whereas the movie spans only a couple of years after her death if I remember correctly. Also in the movie, I felt some of the characters did not get as much backstory as they did in the book. I do realize it's difficult for a book to be adapted into a movie because the people working on the conversion process have a lot on their shoulders (dealing with the fans of the book and staying true to it, while trying to create a good movie experience) but with this movie, I think they made it as good as it could be.
For those of you who have seen the movie or plan on seeing it before reading the book, you will know what happens for the most part, but you will be missing out by not reading it. The characters are not as fleshed out in the movie as they are in the book and the story goes quite a bit deeper into the lives of the others, whereas the movie doesn't really explore them.
Overall, I give The Lovely Bones a solid 8 out of 10. It's a great read, but it's not my favorite book of all time, mostly attributed to the fact that I read thrillers, murder mysteries, and the like. This book definitely has some thrilling points and there is a murder, but there's not much mystery being that you are told who kills the main character early on. I felt that the book was more about love and the compassion Susie has for her family, as well as the compassion they have for her, and the difficulty with having to let people go after death. It is a great read for book clubs (I believe it was on Oprah's list at one time) and is geared more for women; however, I think it is a classic in and of itself and would recommend it to anyone who loves reading just because it is a truly interesting read.
Thanks for reading and be sure to comment! Also be sure to pick up this book if it sounds like something you'd enjoy!