Susie Salmon is a typical 14-year-old girl. She’s looking forward to starting high school. She has her first crush. She loves her family and she’s trying to find out who she is.
Susie, however, is dead.
We meet Susie in heaven shortly after she is murdered by a man who lives in her neighborhood. She explains how quickly and unexpectedly her life is taken.
She watches as her family and friends deal with her disappearance, and eventually, the realization that she isn’t coming home. Her father and mother become strangers, not knowing how to be without her. Her sister shuts herself off and hardens her heart for protection from being the ‘dead girl’s sister.’ Her little brother tries to grasp what ‘dead’ really means.
She watches from heaven as her killer disposes of her body and plots to kill his next victim. She sees her family interact with him with no way of telling them the truth. She watches her father and sister desperately search for proof and try to catch her killer.
But life goes on, and people eventually heal. Susie looks on from her heaven as grief turns into acceptance, and the people she loves pick up the pieces and go on without her.
“The Lovely Bones” is a story about grief. It’s a story about how a family moves on when the worst thing they can imagine comes true. But it’s also a story about the happiness that you eventually find your way back to.
Susie’s voice is fresh and true to a 14-year-old girl. Her thoughts and reasoning are like that of any other girl that age. Susie’s family is believable as they each embrace their grief in a different way, and each find a new way to move on without her.
“The Lovely Bones” was a fresh, original novel. Sebold is a wonderful writer who takes you through all the stages of grief with patience and grace. Her characters were true and well developed.
“The Lovely Bones” is coming out as a movie in December of this year. From what I’ve seen of the movie trailers, it looks like they stuck pretty close to the novel. However, as the movie is never as good as the book, you will want to be sure and read it before you see the story on the big screen.
Have you read “The Lovely Bones?” Discuss your thoughts on the book below.