Friday, April 16, 2010

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Rating: ☆☆☆☆(☆)
4/5 Stars

Oh man. It's been way, way too long since I blogged. I've gotten quite a few new books under my belt since March, and I feel so lazy to have waited until now to update. Here goes nothing! Expect a crazy outpouring of posts.

I read The Lovely Bones after having seen the recent movie adaptation, directed by Peter Jackson. This isn't (obviously) the best way to go about these two pieces of media; I would've preferred to read the book first. But, since the opportunity to see the movie sort of sprang up on me, I went ahead and watched it before reading Alice Sebold' bestseller. I have to take a quick sec to address the movie because, for me, it was one of the most incredible films I've ever watched. I started crying half an hour in and could not stop until the end. I think Peter Jackson did an incredible job of reinterpretting some ideas of the novel and making them translatable to the world of film. I also think he did a good job restraining the graphic elements of the book. I know he got a lot of flack for not overtly showing some of the more violent scenes from the novel, but I do believe that violence in books is incredibly different from violence in film. There seems to be a greater allowance for graphic scenes in a novel, and this just wasn't something I would've liked to see in a movie.

Now, on to the book! I was totally blown away by this book. It really captured my attention for hours at a time, and was certainly a page-turner. As cliched as all of that seems, I really felt like "The Lovely Bones" was one of those best-sellers that is also a work of literary mastery. The style was unlike anything I'd read before. I certainly wouldn't say it was inappropriate, although some people I know weren't feeling Sebold's style in terms of how she described Susie Salmon's rape and murder. I found the tone to be really appropriate considering the narrator is a teenage girl. Of course she doesn't necessarily have matured opinions about sexual abuse; she's still a kid. Susie's voice was what really kept me attached to this book.

I found I was strongly connected to the book because of the family dynamic. I come from a family of five. I am the oldest daughter, with a younger sister and an even younger brother. Susie's story was, at times, my own. Although this is obviously a very personal connection to one particularity of the story, I think what I'm getting at is the novel's appeal to anyone in a family. The vignettes for each of Susie's family members helps any reader to connect to at least one of the characters and become emotionally attached to the story.

ISBN: 978-0316044936
Price: $14.99, paperback
Pages: 368