on October 10, 2002
Like her wonderful novel The Lovely Bones - which I've also reviewed and which you must read - Lucky is a harrowing, heart-wrenching book about the worst possible thing that can happen to a woman. Alice Sebold tells the raw story of her rape ordeal and her subsequent struggle for recovery with an honesty and warmth which is compelling. Lucky reads almost like a novel itself at times, with gripping moments of suspense, particularly during the court trial scenes.
Alice Sebold was the innocent victim of an unforgivable crime - but she doesn't ask for our sympathy or pity in these beautifully written pages. She earns our respect and admiration for the courageous way she tells how the traumatic events changed and shaped her life; how the naive college student would eventually become a hardened, determined aggressor herself in her brave fight for justice against her attacker. Sadly, this natural reaction to her personal violation came with a price - destructive behavioural damage that brought a later downward spiral into drugs. What the author didn't know at the time is that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder; an anxiety syndrome that emerges following a psychologically distressing traumatic event such as rape, which she battles to overcome.
Can someone really, truly, get over something so savage and brutal as rape is the numbing thought you're left with long after you put the book aside? The past can never be forgotten, but Alice Sebold has managed to crawl from the wreckage and move on with her life to a happier future that has brought her international fame and acclaim. That says something about the human spirit - and everything about this remarkable woman.
on June 28, 2005
Straight away, let me mention that I also read The Lovely Bones; my opinion of that book was that it was contrived; after the first 60 pages it didn't really work for me.
Now this book: Very Impressive! This is a tough story to tell and the author did a great job. The voice is authentic and the details make it real, and I learned alot: i.e. how men accused of rape usually beat the rap. (I didn't know this; thought in fact the opposite was true!) Hang on through the entire book. The beginning is violent and intense -- and you may want to turn away or put it down -- don't! Keep reading. You heart will go out to this young woman, as my heart did. Keep reading, even through the later sections, the trial which, for me, was toughest part because it almost reads like a court transcription.
Now the kicker. Right when you think the book is over and you think the protagonist (or the author) is a "winner" -- pow! -- flashforward to the East Village years later. Here you'll see how although she managed to convict her rapist, she hasn't managed to put the entire event behind her. This is not a Hollywood ending. The protagonist/author experiences an aftershock of fear and self-loathing that she is unable to control, that pursues her even into another city, even years later; she can't seem to escape it. This epilogue is what really made me love this book. Life goes on, yes -- but misfortune sometimes takes a huge chunk of our spirit. And yet you must still go on! This book is a tribute to a true survivor, a book about real life; it now has a permanent place in my library. I recommend it strongly for those of you not afraid of entering the darkness, even for a moment; sometimes you need to enter the darkness in order to appreciate the light. I feel as if this book will stay with me a long time -- now that's great art! Along with this memoir, another book I'd like to recommend -- a much lighter, funnier book ('cause we all need to laugh too, my God) -- is The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition by Richard Perez. Quite sweet and haunting, too; a comedy with a soul.
on June 2, 2005
Any reader lucky enough to peruse THE LOVELY BONES will know how fortunate they are to be in on the early stages of what appears to be a super talent. The creative story line is deftly handled so that the audience can follow how various key players, especially the Salmon family insuring Susie, cope or not with their loss. Alice Sebold provides a tremendous character driven tale that though melancholy yet optimist makes reading a heaven on earth. For anyone who has lost a loved one, LOVELY BONES gives hope, closure and healing. The aching question of "where are you?" is dealt with compassionately but without heavy religious overtones. You won't find harp plucking angels or a benevolent Father sitting on a throne. Instead a lively fourteen year old who violently leaves the earth, is most interested in keeping tabs on her family and friends. They continue to grow, she stays fourteen. They face painful obstacles she is powerless to change, and yet... It is a very worthwhile read. I only wish I hadn't finished it so quickly. This is a book to savor and Sebold's prose is lyrical. One wants to reread and write lines down. The only other book that I liked this much was BARK OF THE DOGWOOD with its quirky characters, thought-provoking ideas, humor, and decadence.
on August 22, 2002
Captivated by critical praise and a supernatural plot, I was a bit skeptical that any book could live up to its structural and pop culture status. "The Lovely Bones" met and exceeded all of my expectations and then some. Sebold brings forth a spectrum of emotions that are both difficult to express and yet thrilling to any reader who's experienced sheer joy from the written page. Our heroine, a heaven-bound adolescent is ripped away(literally and figuratively) from earth and its bounty of family, friends and real life pleasures. Looking down from above, with newfound wisdom and more than a few regrets, the narrator steers us through a web of self-dicovery, within her self, her family, and even, within us - her audience. Sebold manages to weave a bold mosaic of sorrow and joy, disaster and bliss, with words that simply take your breath away so that you find yourself re-reading passages just to be enveloped in their magical truth again and again. This is simple yet important prose...at once whimsical and deep. It's the sort of book that makes you think twice about the choices we have, the ones we make, and the ones we might later regret not choosing.
My only wish is that Hollywood leave this novel alone and refrain from attempting to replicate its sincere qualities on-screen. No screenplay, or director, or acting ensemble could supplant the power of "the Bones'" narrative. Destined to become a perennial favorite, the "Lovely Bones" is best left to the senses and the imagination that captivates readers in unique, individual ways. Buy it, share it, cherish it!
on November 4, 2004
The Truth shall set you free in this tell all honest look into the life in a terrible enviroment, the enviroment inside of a mind that has been physically and mentally abused.. The book delves into the pain that she had to live through similar to that of the reality based/courageous 'NIGHTMARES ECHO',has poignant,at times a bit of humor like that of 'RUNNING WITH SCISSORS', and a bit sorrowful like that of 'BEAUTY FOR ASHES'. No matter what comparrison you make....'Lucky' is an exceptional look at abuse..........and as I have seen from the prior books I have read, abuse comes in many forms and scars what it touches!
on March 20, 2007
It's rare to come across a book that I like as much as this one. Well, liked is probably not the right word since there are passages that deeply disturb, but then, that's what great literature does, I suppose.
The writing, the voice, is crystal clear, and this is one of the things that I enjoyed best about this insightful yet sometimes hard to take yarn. LUCKY will undoubtedly shock many--as it should. After all, it is about rape. As in her LOVELY BONES, Seabold pulls no punches, yet the work is not over the top, rather it is well crafted with pacing that allows the reader to take in what she has to say without being overwhelmed emotionally. Sebold describes for us, in great detail, the trial, the aftermath, and the emotional devestation she feels. This is no small book emotionally, the same way some other great reads are, and it takes someone with fortitude to get through it, especially if you're a woman. I would also recommend another great read that I recently came across titled "Bark of the Dogwood" for those interested in reading about individuals overcoming adversity.
on February 11, 2005
Through a devastating rape and the ordeal to follow comes a courageous read from a fantastic author. Alice Seabold, best known for her novel, "Lovely Bones" has served us well with this telling memoir of painful emotions and difficult occurances that led her to the point of coming full circle.
As of late, I have been in bed rest due to a broken knee and have had the pleasure of reading some of the most riveting books I could have only imagined.
"Lucky" is one of thos books as well as Nightmares Echo, A Paper Life and Running With Scissors. Each are courageous reads with powerful healing journeys.
on February 23, 2006
This is my favorite novel. Sebold is a brilliant and careful writer who uses the characters in this novel to drive the plot. The Lovely Bones follows the lives of a 14 year old girl who is brutally raped and murdered by her next door neighbour and all of the people closely affected by it. The great part about this novel is that the main character, Susie Salmon, the girl who is raped and murders tells her story looking down from heaven! At first glance the subject matter of this novel may seem very depressing and sad to read, however it is far from that. The description of the rape and murder did cause for a little uneasiness but the way Sebold delves into the inner workings of all of her characters takes the depressing aspect away. After having read "Lucky" by Sebold, I have concluded that the character, Ruth, in the Lovely Bones is included in this book to represent Sebold herself (something to think about if you should decide to read this book). I recommend this book to everyone I know. It is brilliant and enlightening and just a great read.
on May 8, 2005
What if, after your death, you could watch people on earth? Could you handle seeing your loved ones mourn?.. Could you take seeing their lives go on without you? If you could customize heaven, what would your heaven be like?
Susie Salmon's heaven is like the high school she imagined, but didn't live long enough to experience. The air smells faintly of earth and skunk, and every evening, friendly people and dogs lull her to sleep with beautiful music. When she wants to look back down to earth, she peers over the edge of an ornate gazebo. From here she watches her family, her friends, and her killer.
Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones tells the story of the brutal rape and murder of a fourteen year old girl set against a backdrop of early seventies suburbia. In an interesting twist, the story is told in the victim's voice, both from earth and beyond-so her life's sudden end is merely the beginning of her experience.
And what a voice it is. Through Susie, Sebold has created a way to jump seamlessly between past, present and future, and a way to view life from up close and afar. I was instantly charmed, captivated, and touched by this character. Refreshingly, she does not use shallow, stereotypical teen-speak littered with "likes" and "you knows"; the narrative is in simple, insightful, and elegant prose.
Susie sees her mother wish to travel back in time to a life free of marriage and children, and watches her father struggle to maintain his loose grip on sanity to hold the family together. She sees her younger sister withdraw emotionally and live with the label, "the dead girl's sister." Her three year old brother fails to grasp what "dead" really means. She laughs at her wild grandmother, who attempts to cheer the family with her flamboyant blend of cocktails and glamour. Susie also looks longingly at her boyfriend, with whom she shared only a single kiss.
And the killer. She watches him, too-but that's all I'll say. Oh, and she also wishes the police would hurry up and find her remains.
Sounds depressing, right?
Think again. Sebold has brilliantly crafted a narrator who maintains her hopeful voice and humor in the face of tragedy and longing. Susie somehow keeps her girlish optimism while also growing worldly and wise through her own death. The depressing subject matter is diffused by Susie's ability to "jump into" people's souls and feel what they feel. She feels joy when she is remembered fondly, and she gets to feel every butterfly and tingle when her sister falls in love. Sometimes, she tries to make herself seen on earth through small miracles, and is thrilled when someone notices. Sebold's writing is so powerful, I often found myself laughing and welling up simultaneously.
Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones works on so many levels, I would recommend it to anyone. The well drawn characters range from young to old, from good to evil -- through life and beyond; but the bones of this novel are the crisp, descriptive writing and Susie's unique perspective on the bonds that hold human relationships together. Susie's heaven, and her family just might stay with you for a long, long time. A wonderful book, but try it for yourself! Pick up a copy. Another book I need to recommend -- very much on my mind since I purchased a "used" copy off Amazon is "The Losers' Club: Complete Restored Edition," an engaging, highly entertaining little novel I can't stop thinking about.
on July 11, 2004
First of all...just FYI to everyone...I am a 14 year old GUY and I BAWLED MY EYES OUT multiple times while reading this book. You know what I absolutely hate? Narrow minded people...who seem to take the ending entirely the wrong way. Don't think about it being paranormal or being science fiction...JUST TRUST YOUR HEART. Miss Sebold invokes the true spirit of the human heart in every angle of this book. BROADEN YOUR MINDS! Don't sit there and dissect the book as if it were come kind of frog on your high school science classroom table...LOOK AT IT AS A WHOLE...A BEAUTIFUL, TOUCHING WORK OF ART. The end is not meant to reek of ghosts but it is a story of LOVE and LIFE...and the choice that Ruth makes...it's all about LOVE. This book is amazing and I encourage EVERYONE to disregard the bad reviews these stupid narrow-minded critics have given it. Oh...and I would like to comment on the person who said the title was unnecessary...It is actually perfect for the book. The Lovely Bones are, as Susie explains towards the end of trhe book, all of the chocies and links that her friends and family made in the wake of her death...that may have not happened if she hadn't died...it is how she is alive on earth still, through those connections...PLEASE READ THIS BOOK IT IS ONE OF THE MOST AMAZING I HAVE EVER READ!!!!!!!