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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid but not earth-shattering
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold is a unique tale of a young girl's journey through the afterlife. Susie Salmon is a fourteen-year-old girl struggling to understand her seemingly horrible fate from heaven as life continues moving without her. As she embarks on this strange journey, Susie cannot help but watch her loved ones she has left behind to pick up the pieces. The...
Published on March 9 2006 by Andy Birdwell

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing And Emotional!
I found this book to be rather disturbing and emotional to the point that I would put it down only to pick it up again based on the fact that so many of my friends found it a good read. I admit that the idea of a young girl narrating from her idea of what Heaven is was a good one. Watching her family and the trials they go through after her murder was a different way to...
Published on April 18 2004 by Kristi Ahlers


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid but not earth-shattering, March 9 2006
By 
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Paperback)
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold is a unique tale of a young girl's journey through the afterlife. Susie Salmon is a fourteen-year-old girl struggling to understand her seemingly horrible fate from heaven as life continues moving without her. As she embarks on this strange journey, Susie cannot help but watch her loved ones she has left behind to pick up the pieces. The Lovely Bones is an extraordinary piece that exemplifies the theory that there truly is life after death, far beyond the mere idea of where we go when we die. Sebold's strength as a writer makes for a unique and refreshing tale of an otherwise tragic event the novel has some, but few weaknesses. As a whole, I think this is a wonderful novel and would recommend it to anyone looking for a quality, meaningful read. I've read it twice and each time been moved to tears multiple times during the novel. I think Sebold does an amazing job defining what family means. The way she deals with the topic of death is so obscure it's like nothing I've ever read. I really was intrigued by the way she depicted heaven as so much more than clouds and angels. It's a book that not only presents a situation, but leaves room for the reader to connect the dots themselves. For another completely different read (funny and enlightening though NOTHING like "Bones") try McCrae's "Katzenjammer." Very well done.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing And Emotional!, April 18 2004
By 
Kristi Ahlers (Illinois) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Hardcover)
I found this book to be rather disturbing and emotional to the point that I would put it down only to pick it up again based on the fact that so many of my friends found it a good read. I admit that the idea of a young girl narrating from her idea of what Heaven is was a good one. Watching her family and the trials they go through after her murder was a different way to show us how death effects different people. With that said I must admit that I had a hard time caring how Mom, sister Lindsay, and the rest of the motley crew felt or how the death of susie affected the different characters in the end. Susie's mom was probably the most unlikeable character in my opinion, and I wanted to like her since I am also a mother and could not imagine for one second how I would feel if one of my children was taken from me in such a violent way. The way she just shut down on everyone (including her two other children) and turned to the police detective was in my opinion what turned me off to her.
Still I continued to read this book only to be totally let down by the ending. I hope my next read by this author is not such a let down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my two favorite books, June 2 2005
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Paperback)
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW - A Spellbinding of Family, Hope and Redemption, Aug. 22 2002
By 
Jose R. Perez "Jose" (Yonkers, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Hardcover)
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!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the paper it is written on!, Nov. 30 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Hardcover)
If you want to read a poorly organized book with stock characters, and dangling story lines, then this is the book for you!
I had the opportunity to read this book with my book club, and we all agreed it was poorly written. The characters are one-dimensional and not credible. I understand that the story is quite fantastic and incredible, but that does not mean the characters should be so unbelievable. I didn't find any of the characters "real", not Ruth, Lindsey or Samuel... to name a few! I am sure this is not the way real people act, even when placed in such an awful situation of a young girl's murder.
There were "dangling elements" in the story that the author never tied up and finished properly. It was as though she wasn't entirely sure how to end the book so she left all kinds of story lines open. This is indeed the sign of a poorly written book! Why did Ruth start out liking girls? Then all of a sudden she didn't? Why did Ruana say she would "start with Ruth..."? These are only a few of the many questions I have.
From a forensics, and crime investigation point of view, this book also falls short. I do understand that the book starts out in the 1970's, but I still think that a criminal investigation conducted then would have been much more thorough. I mean, the murderer lived right in the neighborhood of the girl - I would think the police would have at least investigated close to home.
Lastly, although the book struggles along the whole way, with choppy bits, and pointless story lines not contributing to anything in the end, there is a major event that happens in the end (I won't give the end away!) that is just too much! This is a very poor ending! If Susie Salmon was in heaven, and she didn't really have any relationships or challenges to overcome, how is it that she was able to mature and evolve? You could point out an endless list of impossibilities like this - and yes I understand that it is just the author's interpretation of heaven. It's just I really think you need people and situations to develop and grow as a human being, not just "fluffy" heaven that is like high school , and presents no opportunities for personal growth.
It was a very frustrating read overall, and I am desperately trying to get rid of my copy! Save your money for another book!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ambitious but not entirely successful, Nov. 1 2006
I would never have read this if it weren't for my bookclub. Having avoided it since it came out, I had very low expectations and so was surprised to be engrossed in the story - untill, about half-way through, it seemed to lose the plot and meandered around aimlessly, getting repetitive as it tried to wring emotion out of its characters, and me.

Susie Salmon is dead. She begins her story by describing how she is murdered, and her family's reaction. From her place in heaven, she can watch anyone she wants to, but apart from "touching" Ruth, a fellow 14-year-old student at her school, on her way out, she can't make her presence felt. Ruth becomes a little obsessed with Susie, and starts to see and feel dead people, keeping a record of them in her diary. Susie's mum uses her daughter's death as a trigger to leave her family and try to recapture her youth. She is constantly described as a woman who never wanted to be a mother. Susie's dad takes her death particularly bad, and focuses on his two other children, Lindsey and Buckley.

Susie watches from heaven as her family grows older, watches as Lindsey goes from first kiss to accepting a marriage proposal, watches her murderer, Mr Harvey, a serial killer who is [spoiler alert!] never caught, and, at the end of the book, possesses Ruth's body so she can lose her viginity to the only boy she ever kissed.

The Lovely Bones is fairly ambitious, and although it manages to keep from slipping into sentimental indulgence, it also lacks drive, and misses many opportunities to really delve into some interesting and important issues. Some devices were a bit cheesy, and seemed like avoidance. I guess I, like most people, would have been more satisfied if Mr Harvey had been caught, but that's not necessarily realistic either. The main reason why I struggled to finish it and why I give it only 3 stars is that the second half has nowhere to go, it loses its immediacy as the years go by and people start moving on, letting go of Susie, whose body was never found either. The characters started to annoy me - I wanted to be sympathetic, even of the mother, who, in a way, has the hardest time of all, but they began to get cliched.

That said, there are some nice descriptions, Susie's voice is apt, there's a great sense of time (she's killed in the 70s) without being too obvious, and even if you only read the first half, it's well written and gripping before it becomes tedious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Insight, Feb. 23 2006
By 
Brandy (Brandon, Manitoba, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Paperback)
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read...Really Great!, May 8 2005
By 
Cindy Lasser (Block Island, RI) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Paperback)
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely--no bones about it, Nov. 15 2004
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Hardcover)
Sebold has one previous work to her credit, that being the nonfiction LUCKY, a haunting account of the author's rape at age 18. THE LOVELY BONES is a haunting work as well, but in the literal sense of the word --- for the narrator of THE LOVELY BONES is a 14-year-old girl murdered during the commission of an unspeakable act committed by a quiet, monstrous man of such vileness that the reader wants nothing other than to reach into the pages of the book, grab him, and rip his face off. The victim, Susie Salmon ("like the fish," as she tells us early on), relates her fate with a poetic matter-of-factness; she is at peace as she narrates, from her heaven, an account of what happened before and after her death as well as the repercussions of her death upon her family. What she wants is that her family achieve peace and that her murderer encounter justice. You can tell THE LOVELY BONES is a going to be sad just by reading the back.....so is that what you want? to cry? just like you did when you read "where the red fern grows" as a child? i think most people picked up this book hoping and praying that it wouldn't be as sad as it seems- and luckily, it isn't. the whole point of the story is how we can overcome loss, even at the darkest hours of our life. i hope that nobody close to me dies in such a horrible way as suzy did, but i know that deep down i will remember this book. hopefully, it gives light to those people who are overcome with terrible loss, and inspiration to those of us who have been lucky enough never to have had a loved one perish. this book is now one of my favorites, because although not all of the characters are likeable, they all overcome some sort of obstacle. If you're one for a page turner like LB, then you might try THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD. It's funny, harrowing, VERY unusual, and above all, enjoyable and frank. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LISTEN TO ME PLEASE AND NOT THE NARROW MINDED CRITICS!!!!!, July 11 2004
By 
Bradley Scott Herman (Dayton, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Lovely Bones (Paperback)
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!!!!!!!
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