Friday, October 2, 2009

Book Giveaway: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Valerie and Hatchette Book Group are sponsoring a giveaway of 5 copies of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Thank you so much, Valerie and Hatchette!

The movie adaptation of The Lovely Bones will be released this December, directed by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings!) and starring Rachel Weitz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Mark Wahlburg, and Saorise Ronan (from Atonement). Interested?! Read more below.

About the Book, courtesy of the publisher:

Once in a generation a novel comes along that taps a vein of universal human experience, resonating with readers of all ages. The Lovely Bones is such a book -- a #1 bestseller celebrated at once for its artistry, for its luminous clarity of emotion, and for its astonishing power to lay claim to the hearts of millions of readers around the world.

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973."

So begins the story of Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, even as she is watching life on earth continue without her -- her friends trading rumors about her disappearance, her killer trying to cover his tracks, her grief-stricken family unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy.

Alice Sebold is the author of three #1 bestselling books, the novels The Lovely Bones and The Almost Moon and the memoir Lucky. She lives in California with her husband, the novelist Glen David Gold. To read an interview of Alice Sebold about the journey of writing The Lovely Bones, visit the Hatchette site at
Or Alice Sebold's website at

Reading Group Guide, courtesy of the publisher:
  1. In Susie's Heaven, she is surrounded by things that bring her peace. What would your Heaven be like? Is it surprising that in Susie's inward, personal version of the hereafter there is no God or larger being that presides?
  2. Why does Ruth become Susie's main connection to Earth? Was it accidental that Susie touched Ruth on her way up to Heaven, or was Ruth actually chosen to be Susie's emotional conduit?
  3. Rape is one of the most alienating experiences imaginable. Susie's rape ends in murder and changes her family and friends forever. Alienation is transferred, in a sense, to Susie's parents and siblings. How do they each experience loneliness and solitude after Susie's death?
  4. Why does the author include details about Mr. Harvey's childhood and his memories of his mother? By giving him a human side, does Sebold get us closer to understanding his motivation? Sebold explained in an interview about the novel that murderers "are not animals but men," and that is what makes them so frightening. Do you agree?
  5. Discuss the way in which guilt manifests itself in the various characters - Jack, Abigail, Lindsay, Mr. Harvey, Len Fenerman.
  6. "Pushing on the inbetween" is how Susie describes her efforts to connect with those she has left behind on Earth. Have you ever felt as though someone was trying to communicate with you from "the inbetween"?
  7. Does Buckley really see Susie, or does he make up a version of his sister as a way of understanding, and not being too emotionally damaged by, her death? How do you explain tragedy to a child? Do you think Susie's parents do a good job of helping Buckley comprehend the loss of his sister?
  8. Susie is killed just as she was beginning to see her mother and father as real people, not just as parents. Watching her parents' relationship change in the wake of her death, she begins to understand how they react to the world and to each other. How does this newfound understanding affect Susie?
  9. Can Abigail's choice to leave her family be justified?
  10. Why does Abigail leave her dead daughter's photo outside the Chicago Airport on her way back to her family?
  11. Susie observes that "The living deserve attention, too." She watches her sister, Lindsay, being neglected as those around her focus all their attention on grieving for Susie. Jack refuses to allow Buckley to use Susie's clothes in his garden. When is it time to let go?
  12. Susie's Heaven seems to have different stages, and climbing to the next stage of Heaven requires her to remove herself from what happens on Earth. What is this process like for Susie?
  13. In The Lovely Bones, adult relationships (Abigail and Jack, Ray's parents) are dysfunctional and troubled, whereas the young relationships (Lindsay and Samuel, Ray and Susie, Ray and Ruth) all seem to have depth, maturity, and potential. What is the author saying about young love? About the trials and tribulations of married life?
  14. Is Jack Salmon allowing himself to be swallowed up by his grief? Is there a point where he should have let go? How does his grief process affect his family? Is there something admirable about holding on so tightly to Susie's memory and not denying his profound sadness?
  15. Ray and Susie's final physical experience (via Ruth's body) seems to act almost as an exorcism that sweeps away, if only temporarily, Susie's memory of her rape. What is the significance of this act for Susie, and does it serve to counterbalance the violent act that ended Susie's life?
  16. Alice Sebold seems to be saying that out of tragedy comes healing. Susie's family fractures and comes back together, a town learns to find strength in each other. Do you agree that good can come of great trauma?

To enter, please share your favorite movie adaptation of a book.

Please include your email address, so that I can contact you if you win. No email address and answer, no entry. The contest is limited to US and Canada only. No P.O. boxes. The contest ends at noon on November 6, 2009.

Thank you so much to Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for sponsoring this giveaway!


  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest comes to mind.


  2. Please enter me. Thanks for the chance. My fav movie adaption is The English Patient.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

  3. My favourite movie adaptation is Lord of the Rings.

    kirar59 at yahoo dot ca

  4. An Unfinished Life is a very good film adaptation of a book. Robert Redford and Morgan Freeman are superb. Jennifer Lopez is effectively understated. A great book and a great film! gcwhiskas at aol dot com

  5. My favorite movie adapted from a book is Falling on Cedars
    kathydetweiler at

  6. I loved Twilight!

    simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

  7. My favorite: The Devil Wears Prada

    dlodden at frontiernet dot net

  8. I'm usually disappointed by the movie adaption of a book, the characters don't look the way I pictured, they leave out my favorite scenes or they change the ending. My favorite movie adaption is The Color Purple; they did a wonderful job with casting snf they included all of the important highlights.


  9. Gone With the Wind


  10. I like The Notebook!


  11. I generally don't really enjoy movies adapted from a book, as I tend to be disappointed. I also become critical of things that have been changed, either added or left out! I always like the book better! Three that I can think of off the top of my head that I really enjoyed were The Notebook, The Color Purple, and Forest Gump! I always hoped they would do a sequel to that as I enjoyed the book Gump & Co.

  12. I love all the Harry Potter movies (except The Goblet of Fire). Overall, I think they did a good job with them.
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  13. I'm going to have to say Lord of the Rings. Although it was lacking in places, it was excellent overall.

    BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com

  14. There's a few I like but I'll pick to Kill A Mockingbird.

  15. I really enjoyed The Notebook and Marley and Me!

    Thanks for the chance into this giveaway!


  16. Recently? I liked Gifted Hands...

    janemaritz at yahoo dot com

  17. I've always been a big fan of The Princess Bride both the book and the movie. It's a rare story that can succeed so well in both mediums.
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    ruthann (dot) francis (at) gmail (dot) com

  18. Lord of the Rings and The Notebook.

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  19. The Devil Wears Prada was excellent.

    kimi kaio @ (no spaces)

  20. The Namesake. I thought the movie was SO well done.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com

  21. The Lord of the Rings. I have seen the movies over and over...the extended versions. I am a fan of the books too. But the movies were epic. Thanks for the chance.

  22. My favorite adaptation of a book is Atonement. I loved the book and was skeptical about how well it could be adapted for the big screen, but I thought it was done beautifully. Much better than I expected and then some. And, strange coincidence, it also featured Saoirse Ronan in a leading role!
    Thank you!

  23. "The Outsiders" is my all time favorite!! I never get tired of watching the movie or reading the book.

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  24. Nights in Rodanthe and The Notebook.

  25. My favorite movie adaptation is Fight Club. The book is great, but the movie is just a tiny bit better. I highly recommend both.

  26. My favorite movie adaptations are The Notebook and My Sister's Keeper.

    I would love to win a copy of this book.


  27. I love the movie adaptation of The Deep End of The Ocean.

    bthgordon[at]yahoo[dot] com

  28. The Princess Bride was excellent!

    alannakurt at gmail dot com

  29. My favourite movie adaptation is The Notebook!

    dark_illuzion at msn dot com

  30. My favorite movie adaptation of a book is Gone With The wind. Please enter me. Thanks!


  31. My favorite movie adaption is White Oleander

  32. I'm usually terribly disappointed by movies adapted by books. They leave so much out, or just plain change things, that it ends up barely resembling the original story. I did, however, think they did an excellent job with the Harry Potter series.