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DamaNegra
04-25-2006, 08:32 AM
Here (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316168815/sr=8-4/qid=1145939387/ref=pd_bbs_4/002-2708208-0539232?%5Fencoding=UTF8) is the amazon page for the book, in case anyone is interested in buying it or using the search inside features.

I found this book to be incredibly beautiful. It is about a girl who is killed, and is telling her story from her own heaven. It is very emotional, and illustrates a very interesting concept of love.

The only flaw I see in this is that the end just dragged. The beginning of the book was great, but the end became boring and repetitive.

Anyone else read this?? Comments??

Perks
04-25-2006, 04:02 PM
Oh, Dama. I hated this book. I will give the opening chapter its due - it was crushing, and beautiful. I went on a rant about this book in a thread a while back.


All the acclaim for this book came from the first chapter. Alice Sebold had a horrible experience as a young girl in real life and the account of the rape and murder of her fictional narrator is debilitating. Beyond that it's insipid and redundant. She looks down from heaven and sees that her mother is really sad. She checks on her father and - he's really sad. Her sister, coincidentally, is really sad. The boy who would have been her first boyfriend is, get this, really sad. Her parents are so sad they can't stay together. So when she notes, as years and years and years go by, that they are still Really Sad, she has to do it in two separate places. Her sister tries to get on with life, but there is pervasive sadness. Ditto with the boyfriend. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto.

Nothing happens in this book after the first chapter, but it was declared a masterpiece. People being sad is not a story. Aaaarrrrrggghh. Whew.

And then one other niggle - there is no elbow. She mentions time and again that the dog brought back the girl's elbow and that's how her family knew what happened to her. Impossible. The elbow is a location, the juncture of three bones, not an entity to itself. A dog can bring back a kneecap. It could bring back a shoulder blade or a collarbone, even a jaw. It can't bring an elbow if it doesn't bring the arm.

How many people read that before it went to print? Grrrr.

I was very frustrated by this book. (Obviously.) But, it was probably the biggest seller if that year (2003?) so, many people found it worthwhile.

Julie Worth
04-25-2006, 04:04 PM
Oh, Dama. I hated this book. And then one other niggle - there is no elbow.

Yes, it was idiotic and I couldn't get past a few chapters. The elbow thing was funny--to make such a basic error!

aruna
04-25-2006, 04:10 PM
And I remember agreeing with you, completely!


Oh, Dama. I hated this book. I will give the opening chapter its due - it was crushing, and beautiful. I went on a rant about this book in a thread a while back.



.....
I was very frustrated by this book. (Obviously.) But, it was probably the biggest seller if that year (2003?) so, many people found it worthwhile.

DamaNegra
04-25-2006, 05:10 PM
Lol, yeah, the elbow thing was kind of weird. I just couldn't picture it, and turned the scene into a hilarious one instead of a dramatic one.

I agree, the strenght of the book is in the first chapters, but that's precisely what I liked about it. Though by the time I reached the middle of the book, I was ready to throw it out the window (which I would've done if the book was mine, lol).

aruna
04-25-2006, 05:17 PM
I puzzled over the elbow thing myself...
Yes, the beginnning is gripping, but the rest of the book seems to be just everybody mourning and not being able to move on.

Heaven was very disappointing. I mean, it's an interesting premise, and I'd have thought, in a literary book, there'd be some depth to her vision of what it's like there. Instead, we get a kind of gflorified earth. And why no actual meeting with God? It's like setting a book in Buckingham Palace and the MC never getting to meet the Queen.

CaroGirl
04-25-2006, 05:19 PM
I hated it too, though I'm often reluctant to admit it because so many people loved it. I thought it was poorly written from the admittedly startling beginning, to its cop-out conclusion.

I did read the whole thing and, while it wasn't exactly a waste of time, it wasn't exactly time well spent either.

ChaosTitan
04-26-2006, 10:50 PM
I borrowed a copy of this from a friend. I gave it back a few weeks later.

I think I made it to chapter three before I gave up. Yes, the novel was beautifully written and had an interesting premise. The idea of a dead narrator intrigued me, as did all of the hoopla surrounding the book. I was disappointed.

I think that's when I decided to stay away from the NY Times Bestseller list. When something is put up onto a pedestal, I tend to not like the way it looks up there. It's one of the reasons I haven't read any Harry Potters books, or "The DaVinci Code."

:Shrug:

Branwyn
04-26-2006, 11:10 PM
I enjoyed it. I even queried the agent for Alice Sebold.

Jamesaritchie
04-27-2006, 12:43 AM
The elbow didn't bother me. I assumed the dog brought back that part of the arm where the elbow is. You can bring back a kneecap, sure, but you can also bring back a knee. And you most assuredly can bring back an elbow. You can, at least, bring back something any rational person would describe as an elbow.

Jamesaritchie
04-27-2006, 12:45 AM
Here (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316168815/sr=8-4/qid=1145939387/ref=pd_bbs_4/002-2708208-0539232?%5Fencoding=UTF8) is the amazon page for the book, in case anyone is interested in buying it or using the search inside features.

I found this book to be incredibly beautiful. It is about a girl who is killed, and is telling her story from her own heaven. It is very emotional, and illustrates a very interesting concept of love.

The only flaw I see in this is that the end just dragged. The beginning of the book was great, but the end became boring and repetitive.

Anyone else read this?? Comments??



I loved the novel as a whole, but the last one fifth of the book did drag on, and should have been condensed into a chapter or two.

But I hate it when people say "nothing happened." Something happened in every chapter of the book, and up until, oh, four or five chapters from the end, it was something extremely meaningful.

Perks
04-27-2006, 12:46 AM
How's that? You bring back an arm, which of course has an elbow in the middle of it. There is no "part of the arm" that can be described as the elbow that is not attched to the arm.

In which case, the dog should have brought back her arm, not her elbow. I guess Aruna, DamaNegra and I are just irrational.

Julie Worth
04-27-2006, 12:47 AM
In which case, the dog should have brought back her arm, not her elbow. I guess Aruna, DamaNegra and I are just irrational.

It would have been funnier if the dog had brought back her lap.

aruna
04-27-2006, 09:27 AM
I loved the novel as a whole, but the last one fifth of the book did drag on, and should have been condensed into a chapter or two.

But I hate it when people say "nothing happened." Something happened in every chapter of the book, and up until, oh, four or five chapters from the end, it was something extremely meaningful.

"Something", maybe, but something so banal I can't even remember what. Mostly it was just whining.

Even the climax was not really a climax. So she killed the perpetrater - golly gee. After how many years, decades? After that amount of time death is no punishment, especially as he didn't know who did it or why. Death happens to all of us...

His "punishment" would have been much more effective if she'd used her imagination to somehow relate it to the crime, LET HIM know - and make sure the world knew what he'd done. There is no satisfaction at all in a criminal getting off scott free, which in fact he did. I think that's what bugged me the most about this book. There was no justice.

Unique
04-27-2006, 11:30 PM
There is no "part of the arm" that can be described as the elbow that is not attched to the arm.

In which case, the dog should have brought back her arm, not her elbow. I guess Aruna, DamaNegra and I are just irrational.


You aren't irrational - you were anatomically correct. That part bugged me, too. I kept seeing the dog dragging back the humerus or the radia or the ulna. The guy didn't chop her up - so how could the dog have just the elbow? It must have been a big dog. :D

I just checked this out today so I could join your discussion. Man -
I'm on chapter 3; should I keep going ? Or take it back ?

Perks
04-27-2006, 11:32 PM
Let's try this again, shall we? (I dorked up Unique's last post, because I cannot be trusted.)

I can't recommend it, except that many people liked it. I found it frustrating. And frankly, kind of irritatingly boring.

I don't know. Ask James.

Scribhneoir
04-28-2006, 03:59 AM
There is no satisfaction at all in a criminal getting off scott free, which in fact he did. I think that's what bugged me the most about this book. There was no justice.

Yes, that bugged the heck out of me, too. I mostly enjoyed the book and didn't find it boring, but as I read I kept wondering what sort of satisfying resolution could be had. Turns out there wasn't one. The criminal suffered no consequences and wasn't even proved to the world to be the killer. I'd have felt more satisfied if even Susie's body had been found. I thought that would happen in the scene where the sister and the boyfriend ended up at the site, but it didn't and things fizzled for me about there.

aruna
04-28-2006, 09:12 AM
Let's try this again, shall we? (I dorked up Unique's last post, because I cannot be trusted.)

I can't recommend it, except that many people liked it. I found it frustrating. And frankly, kind of irritatingly boring.

I don't know. Ask James.

I first read it because it was recommended to me by a reader whom I knew to be extremely discriminating and who usually rips books to pieces. He loved this one for some reason, so I guess it does have some secret appeal beyond my comprehension.
My agent also hated it. She told me at the time that all the rave reviews came because the reviewers probably never read past the first two chapters!

maestrowork
04-28-2006, 09:58 AM
...all the rave reviews came because the reviewers probably never read past the furst two chapters!

I'll buy that.

Unique
04-28-2006, 02:32 PM
I'm a little further into it now - (chapter 10).

I appreciated the way Susie described that first photo she took of her mother. When she first realizes that 'mother' isn't all she is. Discovering why her father called her mother 'Ocean Eyes'.

It made me sad when her father destroyed all those ships in a bottle. It made me think of the differences in how people handle grief. Some people would have destroyed the way her father did. Others would have cherished them because they were something they had worked on together. Still others would have attached no significance to them at all.

I like the way she describes the characters feelings, especially the young teenagers. Her sister, Ray, Ruth -

Of course I could be somewhat biased. I was the same age as the characters in the same time frame the murder occurred. Our worldview was probably similar. If yours wasn't, placing the actions in context with what happened and how the characters felt might not be a good fit for you.

My .02. I'll let you know if it still feels 'familiar' when I get to the end.

General Joy
04-28-2006, 03:42 PM
Even the climax was not really a climax. So she killed the perpetrater - golly gee. After how many years, decades? After that amount of time death is no punishment, especially as he didn't know who did it or why. Death happens to all of us.

His "punishment" would have been much more effective if she'd used her imagination to somehow relate it to the crime, LET HIM know - and make sure the world knew what he'd done. There is no satisfaction at all in a criminal getting off scott free, which in fact he did. I think that's what bugged me the most about this book. There was no justice.

Is that what happened--Susie killed him? It's been over a year ago since I read this, and maybe I'll have to go over that scene again, but I read his death as fate, a karmic retribution--but one that Susie didn't have anything to do with. That would be sort of disturbing if she did--being able to kill someone while you're in Heaven is not something I could fathom. Or when you said "she killed him," did you mean Alice Sebold, the author?? As for there being no justice, maybe the author is trying to be more realistic that way, because so many child molestors and murderers go unpunished.

aruna
04-28-2006, 03:46 PM
Is that what happened--Susie killed him? It's been over a year ago since I read this, and maybe I'll have to go over that scene again, but I read his death as fate, a karmic retribution--but one that Susie didn't have anything to do with. That would be sort of disturbing if she did--being able to kill someone while you're in Heaven is not something I could fathom. Or when you said "she killed him," did you mean Alice Sebold, the author?? As for there being no justice, maybe the author is trying to be more realistic that way, because so many child molestors and murderers go unpunished.

I seem to recall that Susie did intervene in some way, I just can't remember how exactly. But even if it was the author who killed him, I don't see how it could be a karmic retribution, since it happened much, much later, and death comes to all of us sooner or later.

Perks
04-28-2006, 04:07 PM
I'm with you GJ, I didn't feel like Susie caused it. She witnessed it, but it was doubly disappointing that he was just standing out in the woods and died by nobody's hand.

That being said, I read this over two years ago, so I only remember my impression.

lauram
04-28-2006, 07:29 PM
I really liked it. I thought the ending was a little too mushy with all the girls in heaven going off together, blah, blah, blah. I'm Agnostic though, so maybe that has something to do with it.

I did, however, really like the book. I read it after I heard Alice Sebold interviewed on Fresh Air. I finished it in about a day and a half. Then again I generally read 2-5 books a week, so this isn't necessarily a reflection of the book being unusually great.

The part about the elbow didn't bother me. Animals eat meat and could have gnawed on her arm around the elbow section. The elbow joint, flesh, muscle, and whatever was left of the arm bones in a small hunk of arm could be, in my opinion, called an elbow. Someone's comparison to a lap however, did get me thinking: nope, I don't think the dog could've brought a lap home. :) I guess to me the elbow seems different.

Unique
04-29-2006, 02:06 AM
Now that I'm a little further into it, I'm wondering when the dog could have gotten to her elbow. Didn't the man put her into a safe and throw her down a sink hole?

The man took her apart, put her in a bag, took her to his garage, put her in a safe, then paid $20 to throw his 'father's old safe' down the sink hole.

:Shrug: I don't know....it's still a pretty good story so I'll keep going. (Her grandmother cracks me up. I love that character because she is a character.)

Doctor Shifty
04-30-2006, 04:35 PM
I've not read "The Lovely Bones" but the comments here make me think of Mitch Albom's "The Five People You Meet In Heaven", another book written by a recently dead MC, and a book which I enjoyed immensely.

Has anyone read both?
How do you rate them against each other?

Kim

Perks
04-30-2006, 06:07 PM
Good question. I've read both. I have to say I enjoyed Mitch Albom's book more thoroughly, although it didn't blow me away like it did some people.

I'll leave this as a comparison here in this therad, but I'm thinking The Five People You Meet In Heaven may warrant its own thread.

Go ahead and start one!

maestrowork
04-30-2006, 07:32 PM
I've read Albom's book and I enjoyed it very much. But yah, it's a "movie-of-the-week" type of book. I especially like how it began, the scene in 'Nam, and the ending.

BlueTexas
05-07-2006, 12:15 AM
I've read both and preferred Bones. But, I also read them about four years apart. I think it was the voice that made the difference.

HeyBooBoo
05-07-2006, 08:26 AM
His "punishment" would have been much more effective if she'd used her imagination to somehow relate it to the crime, LET HIM know - and make sure the world knew what he'd done. There is no satisfaction at all in a criminal getting off scott free, which in fact he did. I think that's what bugged me the most about this book. There was no justice.
I found that to be very disappointing as well. It's been a while since I read the book, but I remember loving the first half of it, then it got dull. I read the whole thing only because once I start a book I usually have to finish it for some reason. The only book I ever stopped reading was "Hannibal" because I thought it was just that bad, a disappointment probably heighted by how great "The Silence of the Lambs" was.

I thought it would have been interesting for her family to find out the truth while they could still do something about it, and then have the father go crazy with grief and kill the killer. I would have loved to sneak a peek at the writer's take on Hell if we could have seen the killer end up there. He never got a comeuppance of any kind, nothing that was satifiying. He died at the end, but wasn't that through some mistake of his own? I thought he fell when trying to grab another girl, but my memory is fuzzy on that.

It would have been much better if the family had found the whole truth out sooner, at least in time to give their daughter a proper burial. I was also disappointed with her body being dumped in a sink hole after the killer held onto it for so long right under their noses. We were left with a killer getting away with his crime, and the family never getting proper closure with a burial.

Jens22
05-08-2006, 11:07 PM
If I could jump in here . . . this thread caught my eye. I haven't read the book in a couple of years, and though I found some aspects of it interesting, it was a disappointment to me.

I'm surprised nobody mentioned the way the girl's ghost used her friend's body to have sex with her boyfriend. I don't know much about ghost ethics, but the casual way she does this--after having been a rape victim, no less--really irked me. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

(P.S. The elbow thing was annoying, but how about the fact that NOBODY noticed this guy digging up a room-sized hole. Where'd all the dirt go? He must've still had it around, because he later filled the hole.)

mesh138
05-09-2006, 05:38 AM
I liked the beginning of this book. Very rarely do I find women writers who touch on such dark topics in authentic ways. I really felt like she had a good grasp of a bad man's soul. But somewhere in the middle, I just lost interest and gave up.

General Joy
05-09-2006, 06:13 PM
[QUOTE=Jens22]

I'm surprised nobody mentioned the way the girl's ghost used her friend's body to have sex with her boyfriend. I don't know much about ghost ethics, but the casual way she does this--after having been a rape victim, no less--really irked me. Anyone else have thoughts on this?
QUOTE]

Yes, this scene was weird and I didn't like it either. However, I wasn't bothered by the fact that Susie would want to experience sex even after being a rape victim. I seem to remember that she had been in Heaven for a long time--a few years--before she did this. And although Susie is a fictional character, there are obvious similarities between her and Alice Sebold, as seen in the memoir Lucky. Alice Sebold was raped and had sex with her boyfriend about a year later... so maybe in Bones, Sebold was trying to show that even though Susie was murdered, she didn't have to remain a victim in all respects forever. But I don't know... that even sounds flimsy to me. As I mentioned, I didn't like the scene!

maestrowork
05-10-2006, 06:40 AM
...Susie would want to experience sex even after being a rape victim...

The whole concept, plus that she uses her friend's body, is just creepy.

aruna
05-10-2006, 09:50 AM
The whole concept, plus that she uses her friend's body, is just creepy.

Yes, that was another thing that bugged me. In fact, I found it so disgusting I skimmed it at the time. Yuck!

Dollywagon
05-10-2006, 11:53 PM
So glad that I picked up on this thread because I have just finished reading Bones.

The first chapter was enthralling but it definitely fizzled out for me after that. The middle and ending seemed very weak.

The elbow thing nearly drove me nuts from the moment I read it. The murderer did chop her up and dispose of her almost immediately, but to leave an elbow joint then surely he would have had to cut through the forearm and the upper arm to leave what could be described as an "elbow?" If I was going to chop somebody up I would chose the weakest part which would be through the elbow joint itself...thus no elbow.

...and how did the dog get hold of it when it had been stored in a cellar?

ddgryphon
05-11-2006, 02:35 AM
To all of you who disliked this book: Thank you.

I don't know how this mess managed to strike a chord with so many people. (maybe their the people who think of "Every Breath You Take" as their couple song. It is like they read, but get none of the subtext.

I found this more than disappointing, I found it dreadful, boring, and misandristic. (that's probably just for starters).

Don't mean to rant, but thank goodness there are people who can see past the words to what they actually mean when put together.

Perks
05-11-2006, 02:44 AM
Well, I think it goes to show that many flavors are deperately needed. Many, many people loved this book. Seems a whole bunch didn't as well. It's heartening, really. What you write and what I write, if we've got chops, will hit its mark - there's room for lots of us.

From my perch, I wonder if the extra credit Ms. Sebold more than earned with her blistering opening, carried the rest of it for some people.

Sarah Skilton
05-11-2006, 04:59 AM
I'm surprised nobody mentioned the way the girl's ghost used her friend's body to have sex with her boyfriend.

YES. I was about to bring this up when I saw your post. That part ruined the book, for me. I'd been enjoying it for the most part until then.

I'm in the minority, though -- because I found the book extremely moving until that point, particularly the scene when the father character destroys the bottles with ships in them.

In retrospect the book as a whole wasn't great, but while I read it, I was completely emotionally destroyed, and sometimes the catharthis of a good cry is worth a so-so book, when one is in the mood for that.

Tienci
10-28-2006, 09:57 PM
Read this book some months ago, and here's part of what I posted about it in my blog:

- The timeline for this dragged; I wasn't expecting it to take place over such a long period so I kept wanting to rush it along. But of course, the author had other plans, so it kept its own pace. And it worked- for the most part. But the last pages dragged a bit too much- every time I thought it was over, there was more. More that I expected to show up, but didn't really care if it did. Overall, it was a lovely story. I loved all the sub-stories/plots- except, well, they were all sub-stories. I thought at first the main storyline was going to be when they'd find the girl's body and her killer, but that turned out to be the least important thing of all.

Yes, the sex scene was weird and totally took me back to "Ghost."
Overall, it was the voice that kept me going after the first three or so enthralling chapters. So light-hearted amongst such seriousness.

dancingandflying
10-28-2006, 11:02 PM
I loved this book. Maybe it was the exhilirating beginning that took me all the way through it, but I loved The Lovely Bones. I'm in the minority, I guess.
I think the sex scene was a little wierd, but I think it was so much like that one scene in Ghost, I didn't think much of it.
Just my two cents.
"Oh, how I wish I could shut up like a telescope! I think I could, if I only knew how to begin."
Alice.

magnolia42
10-29-2006, 06:06 AM
My girlfriends passed this book around last year. It was a quick read with an interesting concept. I don't think we're meant to over-analyze this one. It's entertaining fluff, and sometimes we just need that.

Except for the cheesiness of the heaven scenes, I enjoyed reading The Lovely Bones and zipped through it in a few days. Of course, I'd just finished Moby Dick, so I was plumb worn out at the time.

Southern_girl29
10-29-2006, 10:09 AM
I've read this book twice. The first time, I was left emotionally drained, as someone else said. I was reading it just to read it. I thought it was a wonderful book.

I decided to re-read it as I often do with books that I love. This time, since I knew what was happening and going to happen, I was able to see that it wasn't as great as I had first thought.

The elbow thing didn't bother me either, but I hated the sex scene. It just seemed so out of place. The ending also bugged me. I didn't think Susie had anything to do with it, either, but it was just such a let down.

Moonfish
11-07-2006, 07:08 PM
How interesting! A book can be seen so differently. I was given the book by a friend and had heard nothing about it. I am so amazed that some of you found it boring. I was so rattled and upset by it that I never managed to finnish it but had to skim through the end to see how it ended. My adrenalin pumped the whole time I read. The sex scene didn't bother me at all, though.

Maybe because I didn't read the end properly I had the impression that she wasn't in heaven. I saw it as an inbetween place that she could leave only after having let go of earth - which happens at the end.

aruna
03-15-2007, 11:11 AM
I recently read a book which had the same premise as LB: a dead narrator.

The book is Saving Fish from Drowning, by Amy Tan. Not only is the book itself much better IMO: the "dead narrator" premise turns out to be far more than a gimmick, which is what it was in LB.

In Saving Fish, the narrator actually uses her "deadness" to direct the plot. Her consciousness is able to enter into that of the living (not as a ghost, but as a sort of willpower) and influence them. She gives them information from deep inside their minds, information that leads them to make important decisions. The dead narrator is very worried because she died just before she was to take a group of tourists on a trip through Burma and China, and I love the way she manipulates things from her position of advantage!

Had Alice Sewell given her dead narrator such an ability the plot could have been WAY more interesting. Just think of all the possiblilities she'd have had to bring the killer to justice!

But as it is, it really is just a cute quirk.

pdr
03-16-2007, 08:06 PM
I couldn't agree more, Aruna.

Doug Johnson
03-16-2007, 09:35 PM
Had Alice Sewell given her dead narrator such an ability the plot could have been WAY more interesting. Just think of all the possibilities she'd have had to bring the killer to justice!

I have to disagree. There is no justice in a situation like that. I thought most of the books flaws - including the bizarre sex scene - were caused by Seybold's desire to have a "happy ending" when a happy ending wasn't possible.

(And it wasn't just sex that Susie wanted to experience. It was tenderness, intimacy etc. The tragedy of a child hood murder is that the victim never gets to experience those moments that are so essential to the human experience: like a first kiss.) Or to put my thoughts another way, I think Seybold wanted to show that it's possible to have love and intimacy after being raped, which is true, but it's not true if you're dead.


The Lovely Bones does show, however, that if you want to sell the best a lot of books it’s a good idea to have an amazing first chapter.

Mud Dauber
03-17-2007, 02:09 AM
I recently read a book which had the same premise as LB: a dead narrator.

The book is Saving Fish from Drowning, by Amy Tan. Not only is the book itself much better IMO: the "dead narrator" premise turns out to be far more than a gimmick, which is what it was in LB.

In Saving Fish, the narrator actually uses her "deadness" to direct the plot. Her consciousness is able to enter into that of the living (not as a ghost, but as a sort of willpower) and influence them. She gives them information from deep inside their minds, information that leads them to make important decisions. The dead narrator is very worried because she died just before she was to take a group of tourists on a trip through Burma and China, and I love the way she manipulates things from her position of advantage!

Had Alice Sewell given her dead narrator such an ability the plot could have been WAY more interesting. Just think of all the possiblilities she'd have had to bring the killer to justice!

But as it is, it really is just a cute quirk.
Good to know! I've been on an Amy Tan kick lately and wondered how her new book was. (Thanks for the mini review!:Thumbs:) I couldn't stand the Lovely Bones--for the same reasons others have stated. I hung in there until the end, cuz I didn't want to not finish the book, but the sex scene did me in. She had a great start, but seemed in a hurry to wrap things up and it didn't work, IMO.

pollykahl
04-28-2007, 08:20 PM
I loved the book but I agree it did drag, esp in the middle, with all the Sad Sad Sad stuff. I was also frustrated when the sister and her sweetie discovered the beautiful old Victorian house and then it was never mentioned again. I didn't understand the significance of the house being owned by the father of the Asian boy, and I wondered why so much detail went into it and then it just disappeared. So what if he owned it? I definitely missed something there and I was aware that I was missing it but still couldn't figure out what it was. Can anyone give me a clue?

I agree the part where the pedophile was killed and did not suffer proper justice was a little frustrating, but it was gratifying that the girl on the bus was onto him and he not only failed to hurt her but that she made it clear she thought he was creepy. Although it would have been nice to have him be strung up by his little man globes, the author got it right in that most of them are never caught or brought to justice. I think she was trying to bring resolution to it in her own way and it was like saying that nature vindicated the victims since humans were unable to.

I might have had a different experience with the book than most readers because instead of reading it I actually listened to it on CD during a long drive across a few states last year. The author was not the narrater and the actress who narrated did a great job. The scene when the pedophile came home and realized the sister was upstairs in his house was really dramatic on CD.

scarletpeaches
04-28-2007, 08:26 PM
I haven't read the book (yet) but I do have a copy. It's funny because I don't know anyone who actually enjoyed this book, even though it seems to have pretty much entered into the public consciousness.

Re: the using of the friend's body thing...I can understand why someone who's been raped would want to experience sex, almost as a 'getting rid of the previous bad experience by choosing one's next sexual experience' thing, but it's the occupying of the friend's body that bothers me. And it seems to me that Sebold is famous for writing books about rape. I just think, "Yawn...can't you think of anything else to write about?"

But as I said, I haven't read it yet, so I'll be able to give a more informed opinion when I have.

Soccer Mom
04-29-2007, 03:24 AM
The part about taking her friend's body squicked me. Blech.

RumpleTumbler
04-29-2007, 03:30 AM
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1076576&postcount=86

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1076597&postcount=87

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1191976&postcount=115

The Lady
06-03-2007, 08:24 PM
I'm reading this at the moment. Thanks to so many people for confirming that the first chapter is the best. Honestly, I'm reading along now at the moment wondering where the book went.

And, Oh God, the mother is having an affair to confirm she still lives, and dear me, the child realizes a mother is a person too. Profound, not really and not even done particularly well.

Oh, and many other little oddities like a 14 year old girl shaving her legs in an unlocked bathroom, so her dad and little brother can walk in. Strange. Teenagers love locking things.

To comment on the writing , a lot of the time I have to read sentences over and over to understand what she is trying to say. And I'm blaming her. I'm not blaming me.

Anyway, I'm bored but feel compulsed to finish. Again, that's down to my personality, not anything in the book.

And the elbow. The elbow has bothered me in so many ways. Never mind all the anatomical stuff, her parents seemed to think she was still alive at that point. What? Like, he chopped off her arm, arranged for her wounds to be cauterized and then perhaps had a handy blood transfusion thingy on site so she didn't die of blood loss.

Do people actually believe that when child stealing weirdos chop off an "elbow" there is any possibility that the child could still be alive.

Why didn't they make her leave it out. It added nothing and detracted much.

HippieGirl
06-03-2007, 10:32 PM
Read it..loved it..didn't over analyze any of it because I loved the premise of the hereafter..

aruna
06-04-2007, 08:28 AM
Read it..loved it..didn't over analyze any of it because I loved the premise of the hereafter..


That's exactly what irritated me the most. Because if you are going to have such a premise then at least do something inetersting with it. But this girl's heaven was just some kind of glorified playground... too shallow for words. Such a premise, in my book, demands a more in-depth treatment. For instance, if your book is set in Buckingham Palace, then at some point your MC must meet the Queen, right? So with a premise set in the afterlife there should be at least ONE face-to-face encounter with God. There wasn't.

katiemac
06-04-2007, 08:38 AM
I did appreciate that the book didn't delve into too-deep religious waters (i.e., encountering God), since the afterlife had much to do with the individual's perspective.

Still, I didn't enjoy the book at all, but felt compelled to finish regardless. By the end, it felt like time wasted.

polleekin
06-04-2007, 09:10 AM
I'm with everyone who liked the first chapter and wondered where the book I started had gone as I read on. After slogging through to the end, I was also annoyed at the lack of resolution.

It would have been interesting if when she uses her friend's body to have sex-- if there would have been some exploration of how or whether her ethics have changed as a ghost. Instead of trying to make it a beautiful moment, which er... I didn't think it was, she could have addressed these issues. Now that she doesn't have a body, is she less concerned with those who do since she knows how everyone ends up? I'm not explaining well, but yeah, the scene bugged me in general.

lkp
06-06-2007, 08:52 PM
I haven't read Lovely Bones --- the premise never appealed to me and what all of you write doesn't make it likely I'll pick it up. But I understand her new book was the buzz at BEA last weekend. How many of you who read Lovely Bones will pick up the new one?

scarletpeaches
06-06-2007, 11:50 PM
What's it about?

Let me guess...rape? 'Cause we haven't been beaten over the head enough with that stick yet.

CaroGirl
06-07-2007, 12:57 AM
What's it about?

Let me guess...rape? 'Cause we haven't been beaten over the head enough with that stick yet.
Not exactly. It's about a young girl who was murdered and is now looking down from heaven on how her murder has affected her family and community, and the murderer himself. Intriguing concept, but I didn't like the book at all.

scarletpeaches
06-07-2007, 12:58 AM
I meant the new one.

CaroGirl
06-07-2007, 01:01 AM
I meant the new one.
Duh! Sorry. I don't know because I don't plan to read it.

gerrydodge
06-07-2007, 02:51 AM
Alice Sebold is clearly an accomplished writer. The story, especially the first part, is very beautifully crafted. I do think it began to drag after a while. I think that most stories begin to drag unless the writers are very very accomplished. Faulkner, for instance. In a few weeks Bloomsday is coming up;Joyce too doesn't flag. But there are new writers who have the ability to keep the novel fresh and vital: Richard Ford, David Gates, Joyce Carol Oates, Russell Banks, and, I'm sure, people who are part of this site!!!

Kudra
06-09-2007, 02:04 PM
I didn't hate the book, but I didn't love it either. It dragged after a bit, and while I loved the premise, I thought it could have been carried out with much more depth and understanding.

The elbow thing definitely made me think, and the sex-in-the-friend's body just felt like it was thrown in there for the heck of it. Like the author thought the book was dragging and made a desperate attempt to speed up the pace a bit.

Plot Device
06-09-2007, 06:23 PM
We interupt this book-oriented discussion for a brief cinematic announcement:




The movie script has just been sold.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66534

Peter "Lord of the Rings" Jackson struck a deal with Dreamworks-- and with Stephen Spielberg in particular-- to produce and direct Jackson's script version of "The Lovey Bones." The film's budget is estimated to be $70 million.





And that concludes our cinematic interlude.

Lisa Y
06-09-2007, 07:43 PM
I found The Lovely Bones sort of depressing. There's another book I read which, like The Lovely Bones, was about the afterlife. It's called The Mercy of Thin Air by Ronlyn Domingue.

I absolutely LOVED this book. It's different from TLB because the dead character is an adult when she dies. She's not raped/murdered. Also, the character died a while back (1930's??) and the story takes place in both times. Although it can be a little confusing (certainly not as much as Time Traveler's Wife was) and the writing is maybe too expressive at times, I enjoyed it so much, I wish I hadn't read it yet so I could read it again for the first time.

The way the author uses scents in this book is unique (the main character smells things in objects- really cool use of sense of smell).

I just found it so much more entertaining than TLB and it wasn't depressing like TLB.

Mandy-Jane
07-08-2007, 04:28 AM
I've just read this book, and I loved it. All these comments are so interesting, but I disagree with many of them. I actually thought the sex scene was kinda' cool - a bit weird, but alright. I really liked the way she described how she "fell to earth" as she put it. I liked the descriptions of all the spirits leaving the bodies and floating around (but I'm a bit into that kind of stuff). I loved and felt really saddened by the way her family struggled after she'd been murdered, and I loved her various descriptions of different games they used to play when they were happy, innocent kids.

I too, however, was hugely disappointed about the killer just dying that way. I would have loved to have seen one of the family members go after him and really make him suffer.

Overall, a great book, in my opinion. I'm going to go out now and buy her other book.

BlueTexas
07-08-2007, 04:30 AM
Just a head's up, I believe her other book is a memoir about her experience with rape. Unless she's come out with something newer...

September skies
07-16-2007, 06:17 AM
I had never heard of the book but picked it up before leaving on vacation recently. I took it to Hawaii (with several other books) and only read one book.

But last night, I picked it up and read through page 50. I finished the entire book today. I kept reading because I wanted to see if they caught the murderer and if they found the body.

I know this thread is old, but in case anyone is reading "Lovely Bones" or will read it, I won't say if they did. I will just say that I was very disappointed in the ending and that I felt the last two chapters were a bit boring.

Interesting take on heaven though.

rhymegirl
07-16-2007, 06:40 AM
I've just read this book, and I loved it. All these comments are so interesting, but I disagree with many of them. I actually thought the sex scene was kinda' cool - a bit weird, but alright. I really liked the way she described how she "fell to earth" as she put it. I liked the descriptions of all the spirits leaving the bodies and floating around (but I'm a bit into that kind of stuff). I loved and felt really saddened by the way her family struggled after she'd been murdered, and I loved her various descriptions of different games they used to play when they were happy, innocent kids.

I too, however, was hugely disappointed about the killer just dying that way. I would have loved to have seen one of the family members go after him and really make him suffer.

Overall, a great book, in my opinion. I'm going to go out now and buy her other book.

I thought this was a good book, too. Was a little disappointed with the ending.

Literary Device
07-28-2007, 03:11 AM
I started out loving the book and the only reason I bothered to finish it was because it started out so strongly. But, in the end, two thumbs down, in my opinion.

The premise was good, as was the writing, but the story development was lacking. For me, anyway.

carousel
08-27-2007, 06:52 AM
I really enjoyed the story. I agree that if the story was read at face value and not over-analysed, then it was a good read.
I liked Susie's description of how Heaven works, I recently had to explain Heaven to my youngest, upon the death of her grandmother. The concept of Heaven has always been, to me, "If you're good, you'll go to Heaven" without any description of what would be in Heaven, apart from the Pearly Gates and Angels. So being able to draw from "The Lovely Bones" and describe Heaven as a place that has swings and slides and monkey bars for children and knitting clubs for Grandma was really comforting to my little one.

I bought Sebold's "Lucky" which, once again, had a great opening but spiralled downwards from there. Anyway, just my little ramble.

Raiyah
08-27-2007, 05:30 PM
What came first . . . the arm or the elbow . . .?

General Joy
09-26-2007, 06:19 PM
I'm dredging up an old one here...

Alice Sebold's new book is not about rape (gasp!)... but about a woman who kills her mother. The Almost Moon is due out in October I believe. (We sure waited long enough for a new book, haven't we?) I liked The Lovely Bones, so I'll probably read the new one. But if reminds me of The Book of Ruth (hated that junk!!), I may not finish it. It seems the protagonist's mother in Moon will be mentally abusive, but I have doubts that she will be so abusive that a reader can relate to the protagonist or have any sympathy for her when she commits matricide. So we'll see.

Anyone else looking forward to the new one?

RumpleTumbler
09-26-2007, 06:20 PM
I'm just going to read the first half.

CoriSCapnSkip
09-28-2007, 12:45 PM
There's a short story, "Poor Boy," by Lynda Lloyd, selected for inclusion in Prize Stories 1983; The O. Henry Awards, on a similar subject.

gingerwoman
10-08-2007, 02:33 AM
The part with her friend's body just plain didn't fit in with the feel of the rest of the book. The idea didn't bother me, the scene just seemed out of place.
The rest I loved.

pajaramil
10-16-2007, 06:40 AM
Yes, i agree after the first few chapter's it dragged on, but it was not at all bad for a fairly new author. I think that the begining was good enough to make people want to get to the end of the book, which was kindof disappointing:)

takkunelwood
10-16-2007, 07:02 AM
I loved this book and it's one of my all-time favorites (if I had a numbered list, it would be in the top 20.)

The part about the elbow had me picturing part of the upper arm, the elbow joint, and part of the lower arm (alternately with or without the hand).

The sex via Ruth did kind of throw me, though. It seemed like a forced last-minute idea for Susie's closure.

gingerwoman
10-16-2007, 10:54 AM
There was nothing wrong with the idea of the sex, it just somehow didn't fit with the tone of the rest of the book.

Suprswimmer
02-09-2008, 10:06 PM
This book was awsome! It was soo sad, but captivatingly wonderful. I'm wondering, did anyone else read it?

Chickenscratch
02-09-2008, 10:48 PM
Years ago. I tried to listen to her previous book, a memoir about being raped, on CD. It was pretty painful to get through, so I didn't finish it. Lovely Bones was much more mainstream and really well executed. Great premise, good book.

Kudra
02-09-2008, 11:33 PM
I think there's already a thread on this book. Many readers were turned off by the sex-in-the-friend's body scene, I believe.

Perks
02-09-2008, 11:36 PM
I was turned off by the fact that pervasive sadness is not a story. Beyond the first chapter (which was brilliant) I struggled against the urge to hurl the book across the room until the last page, when I think I finally gave in.

I had to read it for a book club. It ended up on my least-favorite-books-I've-bothered-to-finish list.

AllieB
02-12-2008, 04:42 PM
Well, I think there's more than pervasive sadness going on in the book. I enjoyed it, thought it was quite lyrical in spots. Sad? Yes. But so are some of the greatest novels ever written. As far as the sex scene, I didn't have a problem with it - but I didn't take it too literally, either.

seun
02-12-2008, 05:24 PM
I made it to page 100 and gave up.

CaroGirl
02-12-2008, 05:34 PM
This book had a wonderful premise. But the execution, IMO, was very poor. After I vomited a little in my mouth and threw the book across the room no less than three times, I did finish it. It was a mercifully quick read.

It's on the same list for me as the one Perks listed.

Perks
02-12-2008, 06:50 PM
I have to laugh, my sister just finished this book yesterday. I didn't know she was reading it. It got a big WTF?! from her, as well. She cracked me up with her analysis that the main character was wildly narcissistic and that it was unrealistic that everyone who'd ever heard of her had trouble managing a smile for the rest of their lives over her fate.

I don't mind sad. I like sad. I'm as sappy as the next person. But sad isn't a story.

lucky8
02-15-2008, 02:37 PM
I thought it was just me. I borrowed this off a friend who highly recommended it but I just can't seem to get into it. Its been back on my books to read pile for a month now. Did quite like the first chapter but it wasn't enough to keep me going. Maybe I'll just give up altogether.

AmandaAcidic
02-27-2008, 02:34 PM
I liked it. I don't think it crossed any lines. It took me awhile to get through it but I thought it was worth it at the end

The Lady
03-08-2008, 03:26 AM
I posted in the original thread to say that I hated the half of the book I got through and was confounded by it's good reviews.
It does have a good beginning but quickly becomes twaddle.
Anyway, I have noticed her new book around the book shops.
I think she needs to take off the "by the author of The Lovely Bones" sticker off of it.
I won't even read the back blurb. I doubt I'm in the minority judging by the comments on this tread and the last one.

JustJess
03-10-2008, 03:45 AM
As a reader, I'll deal with the gut-wrenching premise and swallow the lump in my throat so long as there's some justice served. I'm not saying there needs to be a "happy" ending -just a satisfying one. Instead, I was left feeling-what was the point? To focus on the aftermath of such a crime is one thing but to actually make progress on the case only to have it end in such a manner was such a letdown.

Manderley
03-28-2008, 10:58 PM
I'm in the middle of reading it now. I liked the first chapter, but now (page 100 or so) I'm wondering what the story is. I haven't found it particularly sad yet, either, as I don't feel much connection to the characters.

It also irritates me that the first person narrator knows what everybody thinks and feels all the time. Watching down from heaven, seeing what everybody is up to? OK, I might accept that if the story demands it. That she, after her death, can somehow enter other people and feel what they feel and think? You're seriously stretching it here, but I'll be a good sport and go along. But that she knew what people were thinking before she died? No, sorry, that just pisses me off.

So far, not taken by it.

Perks
03-28-2008, 11:05 PM
I'm in the middle of reading it now. I liked the first chapter, but now (page 100 or so) I'm wondering what the story is. Everybody is really, really sad.

The End.

maestrowork
03-28-2008, 11:54 PM
I started on it. I never finished.

maestrowork
03-28-2008, 11:56 PM
Everybody is really, really sad.

The End.

It's going to be a major film now starring Saoirse Ronan (Atonement). I bet you'll be first in line to see it.

Perks
03-29-2008, 12:43 AM
Bet I won't. My sister just recently read this without knowing my feelings on it. When we got to talking, she was seething at how self-absorbed the narrator was. She said, "Nobody's so awesome that decades later no one who knew her can crack a smile just because she's not there - still - like she hadn't been for umpteen years!" She just wanted to scream at them, "Move on, already!"

Will Lavender
03-31-2008, 08:26 AM
I enjoyed it when I read it years ago. It's an unusual book in a lot of ways, and it is certainly a moody novel by design. I remember being impressed that Sebold took so many chances but sort of left hollow by the experience. There is a lot of sadness -- but it's a sad subject. (I did recommend it to a few people, so I must have liked it well enough.)

That said.

The Lovely Bones pales in comparison to Suzanne Berne's A Crime in the Neighborhood, which is a similar novel but so much better. I'm not going to pout over anyone's success, but it's really a shame that Berne's book didn't reach the level of Sebold's because the former is pretty close to a masterpiece, in my opinion.

Anthony Matias
03-31-2008, 08:50 AM
It's going to be a major film now starring Saoirse Ronan (Atonement). I bet you'll be first in line to see it.

Last I heard was Peter Jackson was going to direct it. (LOTR)

If anything it should be a beautiful film.

I personally couldn't get past a couple chapters. It was way too painful to read having a daughter about the same age.

Will Lavender
03-31-2008, 08:57 AM
Bet I won't. My sister just recently read this without knowing my feelings on it. When we got to talking, she was seething at how self-absorbed the narrator was. She said, "Nobody's so awesome that decades later no one who knew her can crack a smile just because she's not there - still - like she hadn't been for umpteen years!" She just wanted to scream at them, "Move on, already!"

Not sure about that.

As someone who lost a very close relative to a horrific tragedy, I don't think you ever move on. Obviously I'm not about to set down my emotions about the event in purple prose or anything, and if a book is overwrought it's overwrought, but the sadness one feels when something like this happens is...profound.

/thread-hijackin' lameness

KikiteNeko
03-31-2008, 09:22 AM
I did. I loved it, and I think she butchered the ending, and should be kicked in the head for ruining her own story with such a tawdry sex scene.

My two cents.

KikiteNeko
03-31-2008, 09:27 AM
Lol! Those were kinda my thoughts. The 14 year old girl gets murdered, and ten years later the boy who had a crush on her still carries her picture around (how he got that picture is beyond me, btw). There was a boy I was wildly in love with all through elementary school, and I haven't sat down and thought about him for a good ten years or so, and don't have his picture in my wallet.

But the author herself was raped, as was her narrator, and the problem with her writing is that she bent the story to her will, rather than doing what was best for the characters. And she gave it a cheesy gas station romance novel sex scene involving the dead girl's disembodied ghost possessing the body of a girl she barely knew. It was ridiculous and it didn't fit in the story at ALL. And then boom, her soul goes back to heaven right after this little shower excursion, which I swear takes place in some random building that just happens to be in the middle of nowhere, and then the story ends.


I have to laugh, my sister just finished this book yesterday. I didn't know she was reading it. It got a big WTF?! from her, as well. She cracked me up with her analysis that the main character was wildly narcissistic and that it was unrealistic that everyone who'd ever heard of her had trouble managing a smile for the rest of their lives over her fate.

I don't mind sad. I like sad. I'm as sappy as the next person. But sad isn't a story.

nerds
03-31-2008, 06:51 PM
Not sure about that.

As someone who lost a very close relative to a horrific tragedy, I don't think you ever move on.


Agree. You just live around it, with it, but there's no "getting over it" (God I hate that phrase) or per se "moving on". (Hate that phrase too.)

I lost someone near and dear to a murder/suicide, he was the murder victim, and I'd be hard-pressed to read any novels attempting to address that subject even if written by someone with experience around it. To this day I can't speak about it let alone read or write about it.

There's a certain "authority", if you will, when people such as Sebold convert their traumatic personal experiences to novels, it does give them a "platform", but I wonder if things might sometimes be better served in a non-fiction form.

Perks
03-31-2008, 07:17 PM
I didn't mean (I don't believe my sister did, either) that you ever 'get over it'. But you will smile again. You will function and the lost person will not ride sidecar to your every thought a decade later.

I've also lost loved ones, twice. But it becomes part of who you are, not a constant sighing roadblock to personal happiness as seemed to be presented in this book.

The first chapter was so stunning and the rest of the book, in my opinion, so lackluster and forced that it was kind of interesting to find out later that the first chapter was the only one that Sebold had any real-life experience of. Made more sense how the book played out, but also didn't do much for her credibility as a storyteller, in my opinion.

KikiteNeko
03-31-2008, 07:25 PM
The author, before writing The Lovely Bones, also wrote a memoir about her rape. Funnily enough, she gave her character the same ending as her memoir (which ended with her having a GOOD sexual experience. Sounds nice, right? Sure, except her narrator was dead, and had to come back to earth as a ghost. It was idiotic of her as a writer).



There's a certain "authority", if you will, when people such as Sebold convert their traumatic personal experiences to novels, it does give them a "platform", but I wonder if things might sometimes be better served in a non-fiction form.

nerds
03-31-2008, 07:25 PM
Perks, yes, I understand. I'm sorry, I wasn't directing at anyone, should have been more clear. I have heard the terms more than I ever care to again, and they are so completely off the mark, obtuse and devoid of understanding that you just want to set your hair on fire. Or better yet, theirs.

Your point is correct, we do carry on, and I agree with the observation in terms of the character in the book.

JamieFord
03-31-2008, 07:29 PM
I enjoyed it, despite the pervasive sadness––I thought it worked. As a writer, I also admired the 1st-person omni POV. Quite clever.

crtaylor
04-06-2008, 04:55 PM
I couldn't get through it. It was too sad. I gave it up pretty quickly. But then I would be interested in seeing the film. Why is that?

darrtwish
04-07-2008, 06:28 PM
I've read it several times, and loved it. This may sound a little on the sick and twisted side but it's comforting to know that those horrible kinds of things don't just happen to me.

ACEnders
06-26-2008, 09:14 PM
I loved it. I didn't think the sex scene was so awful. On the contrary I thought it was beautiful. The whole idea behind it - that here is this powerful love that transcends time and space. Susie's friend Ruth understood that and offered her body for Susie. I really liked the entire book. I don't think it was just about sadness. I was anxious to find out what happened to everyone. I thought the perspective was so unique. I enjoyed watching her sister grow and mature. I LOVED Mr. Harvey's ending. I thought the flow and words were beautiful and poetic.

I really enjoyed this book, despite what ya'll think. And I want to try her second book now.

Buddikins
06-29-2008, 09:07 AM
Hmm, I'm divided.
On the whole, I liked the book. I dont think that anybody's reaction was that unrealistic. I mean, as a parent, you'd think about it a lot, and if your sibling died, then too.
And a Ruth was a bit odd anyway.
But, the sex scene did annoy me. I get the idea (a good sexual experience), but, I mean, she was 14 when she died, so unless she matured in heaven.. Which you wouldnt think possible? I know, I know, 14 year olds do have sex, but... mm just didnt fit with me.

TrickyFiction
07-03-2008, 02:12 PM
I am one of those who couldn't get through it. My mother loaned it to me, raving about. But, as others have said, I couldn't figure out what the story was and I didn't cling to any characters, so there was no reason for me to continue reading.

Darklite
07-03-2008, 02:40 PM
I read this a couple of years ago and remember hating the sex scene. I accepted that that the narrator was a dead girl no problem, but the taking over of her friend's body was totally implausible and ruined the book for me. And if I remember correctly, Ruth didn't feel violated by it at all, like that kind of thing happens every day. Thought the book was great though up until that point.

James81
07-28-2008, 05:49 PM
I'm about 200 pages into this and I'm kinda "meh" about it.

I've devoted 200 pages to reading it, so I might as well finish it, but it's not rocking my socks or anything like that.

smoothseas
07-28-2008, 06:08 PM
I remember rather liking it when I read in awhile back.

I think that Sebold has a lovely, lyrical voice.

Haven't read anything else by her, though.

i spy
07-28-2008, 09:38 PM
this was one of those books that i didn't really regret reading, but wouldn't recommend to someone else nor purchase for my library.

i understand they're making a movie scheduled for release next year. i do plan on seeing it and hope it will be better than the book.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380510/

Myasandar
07-28-2008, 10:00 PM
Hmm, I didn't like it. I read it, I was entertained by it for a couple of days but I wouldn't say I liked it. The end bit where she possessed her friend I think really killed it for me and it went from slightly boring to utterly idiotic.

Unfortunately, I think ghosts coming back to watch over the living has become rather overdone. I've read two - The Lovely Bones and Eoin Colfer's The Wish List (slightly different I know but...) which was much more imaginative.

I hated how everyone was so... I don't know. Obviously miserable and all but there was something else. I just didn't find it very powerful. I didn't like any of the characters. It isn't hard to find sympathy for them because of what happened to her but y'know that was just too easy.

Bit too wishy washy for me. But it did entertain me, it's good when you're on a long trip I suppose and want something light and non-committal. It certainly didn't inspire me though.

James81
07-28-2008, 10:27 PM
this was one of those books that i didn't really regret reading, but wouldn't recommend to someone else nor purchase for my library.

i understand they're making a movie scheduled for release next year. i do plan on seeing it and hope it will be better than the book.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0380510/

Ha ha! Susan Sarandon would be a perfect "Grandma Lyn".

But Rachel Weizc for Abigail? I don't quite see that.

James81
07-30-2008, 02:34 AM
Finished this yesterday.

What a ridiculous ending. lol

Minty
08-07-2008, 06:55 AM
I'll admit it. I didn't really like the book. Writing wise it was very beautiful and so were some scenes. I also like how Sebold described heaven. But there were many things that annoyed me about the book too. The narrator sounded more like a thirty-year-old woman than a fourteen-year-old. It also began to drag on towards the middle and I forced myself to finish it.
As for the sex scene, my issue with it is that the whole premise makes no sense, she finally has a chance on Earth and what does she do? She goes and has sex with a guy whose only significance was that she had her "first kiss" with him. I was fourteen when I read it and even that didn't make sense. Not to mention she uses another girl's body, and I find it strange that narrator, being a rape victim, would be fine with that.

carlylyncoe
08-11-2008, 12:44 AM
Good book, held my interest, was written from a good POV. I read it a few years ago so....

Lyra Jean
08-21-2008, 12:00 PM
Why didn't she tell "the boyfriend," I can't remember his name right now, where her body was. Okay, I could get her wanting a good sexual experience even though I didn't think it fit in the story at all. But why couldn't she say, "Hey my body is in a safe in the sinkhole across the street and my rapist/killer is in Anywhere Town, Some State. That's what really irked me cause I kept reading threads about how she wanted justice. Then, when her chance comes she doesn't do anything.

I know this is an old thread but wanted to share my thoughts.

Chrisla
09-06-2008, 01:10 AM
It's been a long time since I read this one, and it didn't leave enough of an impression for me to remember much. I thought that the premise was interesting--telling a story from the dead victim's viewpoint, but that's all I really remember about it.

SaraElizabeth
09-06-2008, 02:00 AM
The part with her friend's body just plain didn't fit in with the feel of the rest of the book. The idea didn't bother me, the scene just seemed out of place.
The rest I loved.
i totally agree

TheAntar
09-18-2008, 03:53 AM
I had a difficult time finishing the book as I felt that most of the last 3/4s of the book was (as previously mentioned) so-and-so was sad. Very sad. Really really sad. And so-and-so's brother? Also very sad. Really very sad.

Cherry Bear
10-19-2008, 01:51 AM
The book made me really want to cry; I weep at everything though (Where the Red Fern Grows and The Pigman made me want to cry too). But this made me very morose and death-centered after I finished it, which is a little strange. My favorite part was definitely her brother and the Monopoly thing; I also liked the characterization they showed about her father. I didn't like the part with her friend's body, either; I thought it was a little off.

J. M. Hunter
08-10-2009, 11:00 PM
If anyone is interested in seeing the trailer, it is at www.lovelybones.com (http://www.lovelybones.com). It looks AMAZING, although the actor playing George Harvey looks exactly like my company's HR Manager...

Idkwiaowiw
08-16-2009, 10:39 AM
I really liked the book, but the ending was just...ugh. Oh wow. No words to describe it (and I mean that in the worst possible way.)

JoNightshade
08-16-2009, 11:01 AM
I just read this book yesterday/today because I saw the movie preview and thought it looked interesting.

It wasn't the best book in he world, but I was actually quite satisfied with the ending. To me, the book wasn't about "catching the killer" or getting retribution. Mainly it was about how the family coped with losing someone in such a horrible, brutal way. The ending worked for me because they all found closure in some way, and Susie finally realized that her sense of closure was realizing that her death had brought out depths in everyone that would not have been plumbed any other way - and that her family managed to find some degree of good because of her absence. I also thought the sex scene at the end was interesting because it was unexpected. I really thought she'd go get her killer, but I thought it showed her growth as a character that she wasn't focused on revenge anymore; mainly she wanted a positive experience with love so that she could get over the negative one.

The middle of the book really dragged for me, though. Fortunately it was a quick read so I'm not super irritated. One thing that really bugged me was the fact that there were soooo many characters and she didn't identify them well, so I kept getting minor people mixed up.

Actually, I also just read The Shack (which is about a man whose daughter is kidnapped and killed). These two books complimented each other in interesting ways, since they dealt with similar themes.

WriterEm
08-24-2009, 08:42 AM
I had high hopes for this book... but was rather disappointed. I enjoyed the first half, but the second half took a whole lot of determination (and a lot of hoping it would improve) to plow through.

My opinion only... :)

sommemi
08-24-2009, 07:49 PM
I just read this book yesterday/today because I saw the movie preview and thought it looked interesting.

It wasn't the best book in he world, but I was actually quite satisfied with the ending. To me, the book wasn't about "catching the killer" or getting retribution. Mainly it was about how the family coped with losing someone in such a horrible, brutal way. The ending worked for me because they all found closure in some way, and Susie finally realized that her sense of closure was realizing that her death had brought out depths in everyone that would not have been plumbed any other way - and that her family managed to find some degree of good because of her absence. I also thought the sex scene at the end was interesting because it was unexpected. I really thought she'd go get her killer, but I thought it showed her growth as a character that she wasn't focused on revenge anymore; mainly she wanted a positive experience with love so that she could get over the negative one.

The middle of the book really dragged for me, though. Fortunately it was a quick read so I'm not super irritated. One thing that really bugged me was the fact that there were soooo many characters and she didn't identify them well, so I kept getting minor people mixed up.

Actually, I also just read The Shack (which is about a man whose daughter is kidnapped and killed). These two books complimented each other in interesting ways, since they dealt with similar themes.

I totally agree that I liked the ending... I think making the ending 'satisfying' only would have made it more boring... it was the lingering feeling of 'what the hell?!' that made me like the book. I like books that bring out emotions and inner turmoil and take you to where you DON'T expect to go. I honestly would have been more dissapointed and less likely to remember the book at all had it been all fulfilling and stuff.

And I agree, The Shack has some similar themes to this, although I felt as though The Shack had a much better resolution at the end than this book.

I guess I just felt like this book was a good read for someone who had already lost a family member, as it shows the family from a 3rd perspective and helps one realize just how difficult it must be to not only be the survivor, but how difficult it WOULD be on the person who has passed if they had to watch the family and not be able to comfort them. I lost my brother and to think of how he must have looked at our family after he was gone and everything my parents went through... well. It was very ... I guess it just spoke to me cause I could relate? I think books like this don't really sit well with people unless there is a personal connection to them, ya know?

Alpha Echo
08-24-2009, 07:54 PM
I didn't know they were making a movie from this book. That should be interesting. I thought the ending was perfect. I really liked this book. I thought that the author's style was lacking sometimes, and I agree that the middle sagged a bit, but overall, I thought it was unique and well-written and heartbreaking.

JKabol
08-24-2009, 08:16 PM
i too cannot recommend it. based on the merit of that work, i have not looked into more of her writing. i cant say that the book was poorly written so much as confess that i didnt enjoy the writing past most of the first chapter. i did not give up on the book, as i seldom give up on books, but it was certainly more toward the summer popular beach reads section and i am more into literary works with powerful conflicts and harsh prose. but then, i'm willing to bet the majority of the fans of this book probably disliked cormac mccarthy's "the road" to at least some degree and that's one of the best books i've experienced in the past four years or so..

Craven
12-17-2009, 06:42 AM
I loved the book. Well written and well executed. The characters and aftermath were all very real, compelling, and plausible.

I didn't get wrapped around the axel on the elbow thing. It seemed clear to me that he cut her up to get her out of the hidey hole without drawing attention, and to fit her into the safe. Remember that the safe was small enough that he managed to load it into his car himself. He only accepted help when it was offered at the dump site. If you cut an arm mid-bicept and mid-forearm, I would call the piece in the middle the elbow - certainly not an arm since most of the arm was missing. And if you transported the pieces bagload by bagload in the dark of night without a flashlight to draw attention, it's totally plausible that a piece might drop from the bag unnoticed (not that this has happened to me).

As for the icicle. I assumed Susie managed to cause it to happen. There was a mention earlier in the book about a camp her sister attended where the kids were deciding on the pefect murder weapon. They decided on the icicle as it would melt away afterwards without a trace. And then years later . . .

RevisionIsTheKey
12-17-2009, 11:14 AM
I read The Lovely Bones several years ago as an assignment for a class I was taking. We were expected to write down examples of good writing--well-written similes, diction, etc. So, although I did read for the story, I was mainly focusing on the craft. I remember writing down many examples of spot-on imagery.

The one thing about the story that made me wonder was that ghost scene, mainly because, as someone else mentioned, it was so reminiscent of the movie "Ghost." I hated the scene in the book; it just did not fit the rest of the story. The scene in the movie is powerful. What a difference. Am I the only one who wondered if Sebold was not stealing the idea just a bit? I'm surprised the scene made it past the editors.

The elbow issue is interesting, too. (Also disconcerting for me, since I never even thought of the oddness of it all. I guess I was too engrossed in finding similes.)

Devil Ledbetter
07-05-2012, 06:41 PM
One thing that really bugged me was the fact that there were soooo many characters and she didn't identify them well, so I kept getting minor people mixed up.
That's what bothered me most, too. She'd toss a name out there and I'd have to cogitate on who that was. There were way too many named minor characters to keep track of.

I read the scene where she used Ruth's body to have sex with Ray as a possession. Aside from the strange-squickiness of it, it struck a sour note because it shattered the story's premise: she can witness the living but she can't act on the living world. That is the whole point of the snowglobe in the beginning, right? She's trapped in heaven. It's nice, but she's trapped there by an invisible barrier. Likewise, I think, is the metaphor in her father's ships in bottles. They are in, and they can't get out. By letting Suzie out (via Ruth's willingness to be possessed), the author destroys her own premise.

The biggest problem with that is she can't possess someone in order to stop George Harvey from murdering little girls, but she can possess someone to have sex with her teenage crush? Super! And Ruth, I think, would have preferred to have been used by possession in order to stop George Harvey, but instead she gets to sleep through a sex act with someone she otherwise would not have had sex with.

Then there was the troubling theological issue of possession/heaven. Possession is generally considered the purview of the damned, is it not? It doesn't make a lot of sense to have an angel possess someone, especially not for sex.

And I too was frustrated that she didn't tell Ray who did it, or where her body was.

As far as the sex itself, though, I'm always bugged by all of the compulsive showering some writers tend to have their characters do before and after sex scenes. What is the point of Suzie-Ruth's heading for the shower immediately after propositioning Ray, and Ray jumping up to scour away any trace of his tryst with Suzie-Ruth?