1. Kit
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    Kit Contributing Member Contributor

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    The lovely bones - Alice Sebold

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Kit, Apr 16, 2007.

    This is my first attempt at writing a real review so don't be too harsh... lol

    From the start, The Lovely Bones attracted a rather suprising amount of attention, placing it under a lot of pressure to meet the expectations of its readers. A task which it apparantly managed as it soon topped the bestsellers lists, and earned numerous glowing reviews.

    The novel is narrated by 14-year-old rape and murder victim Susie Salmon, who watches her family, friends and murderer live out their lives from her own personalised heaven. She watches how her death affects them, and watches as her death leads to series' of events in their own lives: her father goes crazy with grief, her mother is driven to an affair by the loss of the daughter she never wanted, her sister feels that her entire life will be a comparison to that of her sister's, whilst her brother is too young to comprehend the meaning of death.

    Susie soon discovers that heaven is not a perfect place, she relates to us how all she wants is to be "allowed to grow up." a truly heart-wrenching moment as she watches people her own age experience their first kiss, their first love and such experiences that were ripped from her at a young age.

    Susie fights for the chance to return just to experience these things that were denied her, which introduces a modern spiritualism to the book. Infact, Sebold has managed to capture well many of our modern fears and excitements.

    I found early on in reading this book, that I could not put it down - but realised nearer the end that it was for the wrong reasons. After the initial horrors, the pace of the book soon slows down and left me wondering if it was going to draw to a complete halt. Nonetheless there are some moments, some descriptions, some events that leave you feeling as though you know the family, you are there with them and you too knew Susie Salmon. There are scenes that make your breathe catch in your throat as we await with Susie to see if justice will be wrought unto her murderer and those are the moments that make the entire book worth reading.
     
  2. daisydaisy
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    daisydaisy Member

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    That's a lovely summary of the book, Kit. I loved the book, such a heartwrenching story.
     
  3. Alice in Wonderland
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    Alice in Wonderland Contributing Member

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    I really want to read this book! I might even have a copy of it somewhere at my Mum's house... When the book came out Mum wouldn't let me read it because she thought I was too young.

    Thanks for the review. ^^ I'll dig that book up and give it a read.
     
  4. daisydaisy
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    daisydaisy Member

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    I'd definatley recomend that you read it Alice, it's a lovely story. One of the only books that made me cry.
     
  5. Kit
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    Kit Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks, I was quite worried about it because its the first review i've written... and I would definately recommend it. Personally, I did find it hard to stick with in the middle - but the important thing is that I did, and its not a genre i'd normally read... you need to go through the slower bits to make it to the bits that count... lol
     
  6. mrstack
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    mrstack Member

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    wasn't a fan of the book. Plot seemed aimless and overall felt like it lacked depth. Some moments were cringe-worthy seemingly added for shock value. My opinion.
     
  7. Roxie
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    Roxie Active Member

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    I have this book on my "must read" list but it's never available at the local library. I should just buy a copy.
     
  8. Rabid Fox
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    Rabid Fox Member

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    I also loved this book. I came upon it at a used bookstore, recalled hearing good things about it, and loved it as soon as I read the first chapter. I have yet to read anything else by Sebold, but I may need to start looking.
     
  9. Emmy
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    Emmy Member

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    I'll be honest. It wasn't as good as I expected. In fact, by mid-book, I was sick of it already.

    Like the OP wrote, it slowed waayyyy down towards the middle and end. I read it non-stop at first, because I was so enthralled with the story. Then everyone grew up and time moved on and I kept asking myself..."Uh, what happened to the story?"

    I really do understand why it was written the way it was written - but I felt like it was too flowery, too much of the same thing, and too multiple personality disorder. It started out on one thread, but then it changed course and I didn't like the new direction.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I enjoyed it, but was left somewhat cold by some of the religious elements of the afterlife.

    But it was a very different kind of book. It wasn't what I expected, and that was certainly part of the appeal.
     
  11. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    One of my best friends checked out this book, and I couldn't get past the beginning. What a horrible way to die. How sick can you get? That being said, I don't think the writing is bad, or Sebold herself, just the idea of dying that way is so sick. I didn't read the whole thing, but maybe I'll skip the beginning.
     
  12. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    It's being made into a movie, have you heard?
     
  13. Twisted Inversely
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    Twisted Inversely Senior Member

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    By Peter Jackson. Yes.

    I didn't like the book.

    It got me in at the start, but in the end it just left me feeling betrayed. The sequence where she went back clinched it for me and I still can't believe what I read.

    Sorry for being intentionally vague, just trying to avoid spoilers.
     
  14. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    The trailer of the movie looks really good. I haven't read the book yet past the beginning, but I will soon.
     
  15. Rabid Fox
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    Rabid Fox Member

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    I think I heard that somewhere, but can't recall where. In any case, I'm hesitantly optimistic. It might be a good flick, and then Hollywood could muck it up royal.
     
  16. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Google 'The Lovely Bones trailer' and you'll see how wonderful it looks. The cinematography, the narration look top notch. And the fact that Peter Jackson is directing it makes it a good bet that he won't muck it up.
     
  17. Rabid Fox
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    Rabid Fox Member

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    Ah. Thanks for the tip. Just watched it. I am appeased. :)
     
  18. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    For a first attempt, I think you've done a really good job on a book that I didn't find as compelling as you (and many others) did. Had I read your review when I was struggling to become interested, I might've actually finished it in order to experience, as you describe, those "moments that make the entire book worth reading." I might even give it a second chance, now that I know who to turn to for insights. And isn't that the value of a book review anyway? If not, it's surely a good side effect!
     
  19. Maxtina
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    Maxtina Banned

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    Yeah I am counting the seconds for that movie! I've read the book and it's quite good. Love it actually. I thought reading it would ruin the movie for me but I was wrong... it actually made me even more excited!:)

    I suggest you to read the book as well!:)

    And by the way; a movie that Peter Jackson directs is definitely good. I LOVE Mark Wahlberg and I like the other actors in it; Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon...

    It's gonna rock, I know!
     
  20. Maxtina
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    Maxtina Banned

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    About the book:


    (SOME SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR THE ONES WHO HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK OR WANT TO WATCH THE MOVIE)
    (SOME SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR THE ONES WHO HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK OR WANT TO WATCH THE MOVIE)
    (SOME SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR THE ONES WHO HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK OR WANT TO WATCH THE MOVIE)

    The book was great. I liked the humorous tune of the narration. How Susie explains things makes you smile sometimes and at the same time, makes you feel even more sorry for her. "Being trapped in a perfect world" is exactly her condition. She has everything and yet, she can't have the things she loves most.

    One of the things that's really interesting, is the fact that this book differs from most of other books on these kind of subjects in how Susie's father is the one we feel worried about, not her mother. You see, most of the books indicate that when a child dies, the mother of the family suffers the most and these books are often unfair with fathers. They all show how a mother is devastated and everything and also, the mother is always the one feeling something towards the killer and having some kind of instinct telling her that like this man knows something. But in the lovely bones, Jack, Susie's father reveals to be the one having instincts and feeling Susie's presence, talking to her and acting like she's still there... That's really touching and interesting that he never mistreats his two other kids just because he's grieving, unlike Abigail, Susie's mother. Nicely enough, Susie explain her feelings towards Jack and his feeling towards her, somehow being happy that she's always had her father's love, even though she's dead.

    There are some scenes that I love most and almost all of them involve Susie and her father Jack. I LOVE that scene where Susie is like wanting her father to die so that she could be with him. Makes the reader feel uncomfortable at first, but then when she somehow feels guilty for wanting such thing and tries to justify this request to us (or herself) by expressing that she's his daughter and she wants her father, we understand the feelings of wanting a loved one close so badly, "Was this so wrong to want??!" she asks.

    It's amazing how she feels the things her family feel. She talks about their physical and emotional feelings all the time. The book makes us put ourselves in her place and so... we can feel ALL the family and understand them.

    And at last, the natural reactions and ways of grieving through the family. Abigail by running away, Jack by sticking to Susie, Lindsey trying to be strong and Buckley -who is too little when Susie dies, so unfairly, by eventually putting the blame of the family being torn apart on his father.

    The only thing that bugged me through the story, was the fact that the heaven and all those life after death things didn't follow any religions. I think most of the religions (Christianity and Islam at least) believe in the existence of another life in heaven or hell, but in Susie's heaven, there's a huge lack of Supreme Being. There are even no signs of Almighty and that just doesn't feel right.

    Besides that, The Lovely Bones is a great and yet, simple book that I think everyone would enjoy reading.
     
  21. Maxtina
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    Maxtina Banned

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    when she got back for a few hours?
    Yeah I don't know why but I didn't like that scene either... I didn't get the reasons or feelings...
     
  22. p.sawyer
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    i adored this book. i have a passion for books with depth, and deal with harsh subjects. it's always interesting to see how writers portray their character's feelings when dealing with tragedy. as has been said, it was refreshing to see susie's father taking her death to heart the most.

    i agree with what others have said about the way she died being sick, feelings of betrayal, uncomfortable moments, and so on. but that, for me, made it much more realistic.

    i stuck to the rule of 69 for this book. a famous writer, i forget who, once said that before beginning a book, flick to page 69, read it and base your decision on what you read on that page. for 'the lovely bones' it just happened to be one of the most heartfelt and brilliantly dealt with moments in the whole book in my personal opinion. it was the scene where jack is trying to explain to buckley about the fact that susie was gone. he did so through an analogy of monopoly.

    "susie is dead," he said now, unable to make it fit in the rules of any game. "do you know what that means?"
    buckley reached over with his hand and covered the shoe. he looked up to see if his answer was right.


    i am looking forward to the film immensely, especially as peter jackson is an amazing director and, from the looks of the trailer, has done it justice.​
     
  23. Maxtina
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    Maxtina Banned

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    Wow yeah... that part was heart breaking. Also the part Jack has an heart attack... I couldn't believe what Buckley told him; Jack had been carrying him on his shoulder all his life, I couldn't believe how he broke his father's heart like that!

    My father dropped down to his knees. His arm began to tingle on and off as if
    it had fallen asleep. Pins and needles up and down. My brother rushed to him.
    “Dad?”
    “Son.” There was a quaver in his voice and a grasping outward toward my
    brother.
    “I’ll get Grandma.” And Buckley ran.
    My father whispered faintly as he lay on his side with his face twisted in the
    direction of my old clothes: “You can never choose. I’ve loved all three of you.”
     
  24. AmandaC
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    This book was well written but I found it painful to read. I was very irritated by the end when the villain died a quiet death, undiscovered. I wanted bloody retribution and instead got an icicle. Ugh.
     
  25. p.sawyer
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    p.sawyer Member

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    it was very 'ghost' though wasn't it?! ;)

    i was almost glad that he got a quiet undiscovered death. he didn't deserve the drama and attention anything more would have gotten him. he died a lonely, sick, bitter man.​
     

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