Review: THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold

Book and Movie Review

TITLE: The Lovely Bones
AUTHOR: Alice Sebold
GENRE: Young Adult, Mystery, Crime
PUBLISHED: July 3, 2002 – Little, Brown and Company


(Courtesy of Goodreads-No Spoilers!)

The spirit of fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon describes her murder, her surprise at her new home in heaven, and her witness to her family's grief, efforts to find the killer, and attempts to come to terms with what has happened.


Suzi, the narrator tells her story from heaven. She tells us how she was lured into an underground cave where she was brutally raped and murdered. This is not a “who dun it” book. She shows us from the start. This book is a gripping piece about grief, love, and family with an odd coming-of-age angle. She has trouble letting go. She is in heaven (almost/sort of) but won’t let go of the “why” to be able to go fully into heaven.

I don’t really appreciate when people make stuff up about heaven. Not that I have strong views about what it will be like, I just avoid filling my head with ideas, I don’t think it will be anything like what anyone thinks. I was annoyed at everything that happened in the “heaven” scenes and noticed I breezed through those parts. Avoidance.

My opinion about the storyline is that it is AWEFUL, only because it is so painful to hear about a child being raped and murdered. It was painful to read this book from beginning to end. Their family is of course torn apart because of the murder of Suzie. Of course her father went crazy looking for his baby, of course her mother avoided the pain and had an affair. It was hard to finish because of all the pain in this novel. But one can say that it did its job. It made an impression. It got to me. I wanted to cry. I wanted to kill the bad guy.


With that in mind I am having a hard time determining the “time value” of this novel. I almost wished I hadn’t read it because of all the pain in it. Yet, Alice did her job by getting to me through all that emotion. When I think about the latter, I say 3. But when I think about how much it hurt, I’m settling on a 2: Not quite worth the time invested.

MOVIE TITLE: The Lovely Bones
GENRE: Drama, Fantasy
RELEASE DATE:  January 15, 2010
STARING: Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Saoirse Ronan


I was wary to watch this movie for a while after I read the book. I finally decided to take a swing at it. This is the first time I have ever said this and probably the last, but the movie was better than the book. I could cope with the story easier. I, of course, saw less of the family’s struggle. But I got to actually see what Suzie was describing in the weird heaven. When I read about weird stuff that I’ve not seen with my own two eyes, it’s hard to grasp. But it was beautiful and riveting watching huge ships in bottles crashing along the rocky shores. That was cool.

Not a lot was changed. As usual, stuff was combined and scenes were shortened or omitted. But they did a good job condensing it. I still hated the rape and murder part so it was still revolting. But to actually watch the justice in the end made me feel better.


2: Fair: Not quite worth it. Still hard to stomach this story.