When we first meet Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. As she looks down from this strange new place, she tells us, in the fresh and spirited voice of a fourteen-year-old girl, a tale that is both haunting and full of hope.
In the weeks following her death, Susie watches life on Earth continuing without her-her school friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her family holding out hope that she'll be found, her killer trying to cover his tracks. As months pass without leads, Susie sees her parents' marriage being contorted by loss, her sister hardening herself in an effort to stay strong, and her little brother trying to grasp the meaning of the word gone.
And she explores the place called heaven. It looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets. There are counselors to help newcomers adjust and friends to room with. Everything she ever wanted appears as soon as she thinks of it-except the thing she most wants: to be back with the people she loved on Earth.
With compassion, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie sees her loved ones pass through grief and begin to mend. Her father embarks on a risky quest to ensnare her killer. Her sister undertakes a feat of remarkable daring. And the boy Susie cared for moves on, only to find himself at the center of a miraculous event.
The Lovely Bones is luminous and astonishing, a novel that builds out of grief the most hopeful of stories. In the hands of a brilliant new writer, this story of the worst thing a family can face is transformed into a suspenseful and even funny novel about love, memory, joy, heaven, and healing.
|||Published by Little, Brown & Co., celebrating 175 years.
A part of the 50 Reader Store Essentials list.
Showing 1-10 of the 43 most recent reviews
Posted September 02, 2011 by audrey , morristownI ABSOLUTELY LOVED THIS BOOK!! I CRIED WHEN I READ IT AND I WOULD DEFINITELY READ IT A THOUSAND TIMES MORE!!! IT WAS SAD AND BUT THEN IT GOT HAPPIER AND I REALLY REALLY REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK!!! I WOULD TOTALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANY PERSON IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD AND I BET THEY WOULD LOVE IT TOO!!! LOVE THIS BOOK SOO MUCHH!!!!!!! READ IT READ IT READ IT READ IT READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2 . wow
Posted November 23, 2010 by candi , collinsvilleI BOUGHT THIS BOOK CAUSE I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE TEARY EYED MOVIE AND I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN. IF FOR ANY REASON YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE MOVIE PLEASE DO SO. IT WILL MAKE YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT TRUSTING EVEN YOUR NEIGHBORS CAUSE YOU NEVER REALLY KNOW.
3 . Good
Posted August 18, 2010 by Liz , CambridgeI liked this book. I feel like it really pulled me in in the beginning. I was a little disappointed with the mother in this book. I felt she was really strange. I was expecting a bit more in the ending I wanted more revenge or at least something different. Other than that it was pretty good I would recommend it. I do not recommend the movie though, it was horrible!
4 . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.......
Posted June 15, 2010 by nataleigh myers , mobile, alabamsso boring, i had to keep pinching myself.....dont waste your money.
5 . stirring with no big payoff
Posted May 22, 2010 by Jeremy , Riverbank, CAEmotionally moving, tragic, and very sad. Touching, especially being a new father to a little girl. I just wanted a bigger payoff; larger justice, closure. There isn't much, if at all, in the way of suspense...Alice Siebold just spends the tale of a family tragedy whose members' lives become tracked off...but the loveliness is in the tracking back on.
6 . Alright, but I thought it would be better
Posted May 14, 2010 by Maryann , HonoluluAll this talk about the movie, etc that I thought I would give the book a try before seeing it. It was alright, but I agree w/ others on it having no cliimax and Heaven without God in it is not right. Too many random pieces thrown together and it's not a smooth read.
7 . I became lost in this book
Posted May 09, 2010 by Linda B. , MichiganI thought it was an excellent book that really held my interest. It was told by a dead person and had more then one story line that seemed to run through it. I liked the author's writing style and use of words which made me feel as if I was almost watching it on a movie screen.
8 . Changed my life
Posted May 06, 2010 by Jessie , Eastman, GAI read this book for the first time when it first came out. A friend recommended it to me because I was struggling with the sudden loss of a close friend. Since then, I have read this book so many times (at least 30) I could recite it back from memory. Still makes me cry, laugh, and ache every time I even think about it. Alice Sebold has a gift for expressing the deepest of tragedies and its effect on the human soul, and for transitioning that grief into unexpected peace.
9 . Heartfelt, gripping...
Posted March 31, 2010 by Amy , Henderson, NVI read this book long before the movie came out. I loved the book but it does just aim for the heart. Very well written but I enjoyed how the ending played out in the movie better, seemed a bit more realistic then in the book.
10 . Book Better than Movie
Posted March 22, 2010 by Synt , MonroeSame as another reader, I only read this book because of the movie trailer. The book is much better. I enjoyed it. I will admit the ending was off and disappointing, yet understandable.
Little, Brown and Company
August 30, 2006
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Excerpt from The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. In newspaper photos of missing girls from the seventies, most looked like me: white girls with mousy brown hair. This was before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons or in the daily mail. It was still back when people believed things like that didn't happen.
In my junior high yearbook I had a quote from a Spanish poet my sister had turned me on to, Juan Ramon Jimenez. It went like this: "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." I chose it both because it expressed my contempt for my structured surroundings a la the classroom and because, not being some dopey quote from a rock group, I thought it marked me as literary. I was a member of the Chess Club and Chem Club and burned everything I tried to make in Mrs. Delminico's home ec class. My favorite teacher was Mr. Botte, who taught biology and liked to animate the frogs and crawfish we had to dissect by making them dance in their waxed pans.
I wasn't killed by Mr. Botte, by the way. Don't think every person you're going to meet in here is suspect. That's the problem. You never know. Mr. Botte came to my memorial (as, may I add, did almost the entire junior high school-I was never so popular) and cried quite a bit. He had a sick kid. We all knew this, so when he laughed at his own jokes, which were rusty way before I had him, we laughed too, forcing it sometimes just to make him happy. His daughter died a year and a half after I did. She had leukemia, but I never saw her in my heaven.
My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer. My murderer believed in old-fashioned things like eggshells and coffee grounds, which he said his own mother had used. My father came home smiling, making jokes about how the man's garden might be beautiful but it would stink to high heaven once a heat wave hit.
But on December 6, 1973, it was snowing, and I took a shortcut through the cornfield back from the junior high. It was dark out because the days were shorter in winter, and I remember how the broken cornstalks made my walk more difficult. The snow was falling lightly, like a flurry of small hands, and I was breathing through my nose until it was running so much that I had to open my mouth. Six feet from where Mr. Harvey stood, I stuck my tongue out to taste a snowflake.
"Don't let me startle you," Mr. Harvey said. Of course, in a cornfield, in the dark, I was startled. After I was dead I thought about how there had been the light scent of cologne in the air but that I had not been paying attention, or thought it was coming from one of the houses up ahead.
"Mr. Harvey," I said. "You're the older Salmon girl, right?" "Yes." "How are your folks?"
Although the eldest in my family and good at acing a science quiz, I had never felt comfortable with adults.
"Fine," I said. I was cold, but the natural authority of his age, and the added fact that he was a neighbor and had talked to my father about fertilizer, rooted me to the spot.
"I've built something back here," he said. "Would you like to see?"
"I'm sort of cold, Mr. Harvey," I said, "and my mom likes me home before dark."
"It's after dark, Susie," he said.
I wish now that I had known this was weird. I had never told him my name. I guess I thought my father had told him one of the embarrassing anecdotes he saw merely as loving testaments to his children. My father was the kind of dad who kept a nude photo of you when you were three in the downstairs bathroom, the one that guests would use. He did this to my little sister, Lindsey, thank God. At least I was spared that indignity. But he liked to tell a story about how, once Lindsey was born, I was so jealous that one day while he was on the phone in the other room, I moved down the couch--he could see me from where he stood--and tried to pee on top of Lindsey in her carrier. This story humiliated me every time he told it, to the pastor of our church, to our neighbor Mrs. Stead, who was a therapist and whose take on it he wanted to hear, and to everyone who ever said "Susie has a lot of spunk!"
"Spunk!" my father would say. "Let me tell you about spunk," and he would launch immediately into his Susie-peed-on-Lindsey story.
But as it turned out, my father had not mentioned us to Mr. Harvey or told him the Susie-peed-on-Lindsey story. Mr. Harvey would later say these words to my mother when he ran into her on the street: "I heard about the horrible, horrible tragedy. What was your daughter's name, again?"
"Susie," my mother said, bracing up under the weight of it, a weight that she naively hoped might lighten someday, not knowing that it would only go on to hurt in new and varied ways for the rest of her life.
Mr. Harvey told her the usual: "I hope they get the bastard. I'm sorry for your loss."