Friday, January 1, 2010

Book Review of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Alice Sebold's debut novel, The Lovely Bones, first came out in 2002 and became the biggest-selling novel of the year. This paperback edition came out in September 30, 2009. The recently released movie was directed and produced by Peter Jackson and stars Saoirsie Ronan (previously in Atonement), Susan Sarandon, Rachel Weitz, Mark Wahlberg, and Stanley Tucci.

The Lovely Bones
"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."
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

This is how we first meet young Susie Salmon, who is adjusting to her new home in heaven, which is turning out to be different from what she'd expected.

Her life hasn't ended with her death. Susie is still haunted by her killer and she returns to Earth to watch him and to look in on those she loves. Her younger sister Lindsay copes with the sympathetic murmurs and inquisitive glances by toughening up. Her baby brother Buckley keeps asking when she'll be back. While her father struggles to find her killer, her mother starts to drift away.

As she visits Earth, Susie continues to grow into herself, exploring, learning, and always keeping her sense of humor. Suzie is drawn to Ruth, a quirky and brilliant schoolmate that she'd encountered during her last moments. And Suzie is intimately aware of Ray Singh, whom she had been falling in love with, the only boy that she'd kissed.

You may expect the story of a young girl who was raped and murdered to be intense and depressing but The Lovely Bones will surprise you with its humor, celebration of life, and beauty. It's a book that I read through the night. Satisfying and delightful, The Lovely Bones was one of my favorite books of the year.

Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1 Mti Rep edition (September 30, 2009), 368 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of the publisher:
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

Thank you so much to Valerie and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!


  1. This is one of my all-time favorite books. I can't decide if I want to see the movie or not. I don't know how it would live up to the book for me.

  2. A soft and thoughtful read, sad but hopeful too as our young victim watches how lives are changed, and how life goes on, after her death. Look for 'Lucky," her equally well-written story of the real life rape, and the changes it brings to her life and that of her family.