The Lovely Bones is the story of a family torn apart by the death of
the oldest child, 14 year old Susie Salmon. This best-selling debut novel from
Alice Sebold is a journey of loss, grief, and healing. It’s a little different
than your typical ghost story because it’s told from the perspective of
When the story starts, Susie is already in heaven. She relates her own death
at the hands of a serial rapist/murderer and his disposal of her body. She watches
her family struggle, first with her disappearance and later with the realization
that she is dead and that they will never find any remains.
Susie, the narrator throughout the book, continues to watch her family for
ten years as they learn to cope with her absence. She watches he
r father, her
mother, her younger sister, her younger brother, a few friends and Mr. Harvey,
the man who murdered her. When she’s not watching the people who are alive
she wanders around heaven and describes what she finds there.
At the end of the book one of the characters has developed the ability to feel
the presence of the dead, á la John Edwards or James Van Praagh, and
Susie is able to enter a character’s body and possess her and sleep with
her now-grown-up childhood crush, á la Ghost. These events get
to be a little too strange for me.
But this is just being picky. I enjoyed this book and hope that the author’s
next book is just as good.
Ed. note: Interested in Alice Sebold? Check out Brian's
review of her memoir, Lucky.