The 9th Soul

Book Review: The Lovely Bones

Posted in Special posts by Fated Blue on January 13, 2010

Picture provided by neurotripsy. Click to enlarge

I saw this book at a local bookstore, read the synopsis, got interested, checked my wallet, and before you know it I was alone in my room, fully awake at half past twelve midnight, this book in my hand with me turning its pages ever so slightly yet with a curiosity of an audience that would always ponder the question “What happens next?”.

The Wiki entry

I bought and read this book for two reasons:

1. One of my favorite books was compared to this one.

2. It is (was) set to be a movie.

I always like to think that once you are compared to someone, it must mean that the person you were compared to must’ve been very popular regardless of how the person got popular in the first place.

It’s the same when it comes to books. If a praise-worthy book is compared to another book, it must mean that the book used for comparison was, in some little way or more, better. Better that it was used as a standard, a reference, a basis of what these types of books should attempt to imitate or, even better, to surpass.

Given the preceding reasons, (which are good enough for me) I decided to go look for this title. I was very lucky that it was republished since movies about books always made the books they based it on popular.

This book was published way back in 2002 but it was republished (maybe) to further gain sales together with the movie release.

The story pretty much revolved around a young girl, named Susie, who was murdered and how she saw how life was for her and the people she knew and cared about before and after her death. This was further emphasized on how she seemed to be frozen in time yet she was able to grow as if she never truly died. She watched over them as what the “newly dead” usually does (in popular culture at least) after they depart their earthly containments. She observed them like she was observing a specimen under the microscope: with watchful eyes ready to take note of anything interesting that were to happen.

During this time, Susie found that death isn’t really that bad to begin with. She is filled with happiness and she is literally living her own version of heaven. The only thing she wanted were those close to her. She knew this was impossible right from the start. What she did was she immersed herself with the living, to try to be as alive as she could be. She tried to physically manifest herself, she tried to be heard, to be felt, to be noticed at the very least. She tried to live even though she was already dead.

Meanwhile, the struggle for recovery wreaks havoc among her family in which at some point, her parents were separated and her siblings distraught from grief and how her death changed everything to its worst.

All wasn’t negative as life was never always unfair to begin with. Because of her death, people had a chance to have something in common with each other: a memory of a girl they all knew. This made the people around her closer to each other. I want to share some of the interesting characters I found in the book.

Her younger sister Lindsey, my favorite character in the story, grew strong, if not stronger, after Susie left for good. Susie saw how her little sister matured faster than the other kids and how she was able to hide her feelings which was very rare for a thirteen year old. Susie also saw how she fell in love with the right man, and how they both loved each other, turning their grief for her a reason to be together.

Buckley, the youngest child and only son of the family, grew attached to his father mainly because it was his father that chose to remember Susie while his mother escaped thoughts of her. Near the end of the story, Buckley had grown a heart of stone towards his mother but in the end, children would always love their parents no matter what.

Lastly, Ruth. The girl that saw Susie shortly after her departure from Earth. Ruth was a very interesting character in a sense that she wanted to be anonymous no matter what. She didn’t want to be popular but she didn’t want to be a loser at the same time. She just wanted to be herself with no one bothering her or asking her questions on why she draws nude women or why she always wears black. Ruth would play a major role at the end of the story as Susie’s temporary vessel.

The story, as I found it, was very interesting. I haven’t read anything like this before so I was easily in awe of this. I found looking at life as a little girl who died to be not boring at all.

It’s main concept was how the girl, with her body parts in pieces and hidden as a result of the murder, wanted to be whole again. To have her body be found by her friends and family or else she won’t have peace and will continue to dwell among the living. In the end, however, she finally understood what it meant to be remembered, to be whole in another way, to be seen without being seen or to be heard without making a sound; to be loved as if she never left. As with her time in the book, she grew as an adult even though she was immortalized in little girl’s body. She finally found her peace.

This book simply tells of a story about how a girl’s death would greatly affect the lives of the people around her. How they struggle to cope with sudden loss, the fear of having a murderer as a neighbor, and how everything was seemingly in ruins for the ones who lost her only to be swell in the end as with every grief stricken moment of a person’s life. This book wants the reader to know, if I may say so myself, that we have to live every moment or else someone, or something, may take every moment we have left and then it would be too late.

This story started with a sadness and grief that gripped the lives of these people throughout the book but the ending was made so beautiful I couldn’t help but smile and be happy for Susie and her family and friends.

Thank you Alice Sebold. This story would be a classic.

Summary: When I saw this book, I expected nothing short of a sad story of death, recovery, and happiness in solitude in the end. What I got was everything I expected with hints of passion and romance in between. A great read for teens and young adults specially for those who have an itching to have a feel of what it must be like to die and what happens when you do die.

Overall Rating: 9/10

PS: I still prefer “The Time Traveler’s Wife” though.

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