The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Well that wasn't a happy happy good time...
The Lovely Bones is going to be difficult to review without spoilers, so if you haven't read it yet I'm gonna have to go ahead and ask you to leave, m'kay?
Why am I not surprised to learn that Alice Sebold was raped at a young age? Because only someone who'd been through something as horrific as that would write a book like this. I'm not just talking about the subject matter, but rather the tone. Everything about this book is a victim's silent scream. Suzie, the dad, the surviving kids...it seems like everyone has someone taken from them. Maybe even the mom. I mean after all, the life she wished to lead was raped from her after she had the chance to lead it.
Honestly, I thought this was going to be even more depressing than it turned out to be. There's an unexpected hopeful strain through out, a nice pairing with some of Sebold's better writing.
On the other hand, some of her writing is irritating. Most notably were the many instances in which she attempts to utilize suspense writer techniques. As readers we are expecting a divulgence of information regarding the focal murder of the story. So, it's a big old tease when Sebold abruptly states "I saw him." Many times out of the blue she starts a new paragraph or section with just such a line and then goes on to talk about the family dog or some other nonsense. It's bullshit.
Overall though, this isn't bad. At times I enjoyed this look (maybe not the POV from which the story's told) at the after affects of a young girl's mysterious murder. The grieving period for family and friends, and the various paths each of them takes, is portrayed with authenticity. Some grieve harder than others. This isn't a murder mystery, this is real life. It's not always interesting or entertaining. Sometimes it's just sad and thought provoking.
So yes, I did like The Lovely Bones, but as for my tepid 3-star rating, all I can say is, Oprah lied. She told millions to read this and their perseverance upon that endeavor eventually got me to do the same. I read it. I was not Oprah-amazed. Why blame her? Because if she hadn't kicked it all off with her recommendation, I never would've read this. It's just not in my wheelhouse. Thus, I never would've had the opportunity to give this a lower rating. So, if you feel 3 stars is too low, blame Oprah.
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