INsite Magazine

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"The Lovely Bones" book review

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

Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones has come from the bestseller list to the box office in a matter of seven years.

After being murdered a by a neighbor, Susie Salmon tells her story from a place between heaven and earth. But, childish and dimwitted are two terms Sebold strays away from as she makes Susie the narrator. Most notably, in the first chapter, Susie explains in full detail the grotesque actions of her murderer, Mr. Harvey, which might persuade readers to close the book. Nevertheless, the sassy and perseverant 14-year-old, who acts twice her age, eloquently exposes her heaven and hell in the in-between where she resides.

While Susie consistently describes the feelings of her distraught father and silence-in-suffering mother, Abigail, Susie also reveals what she experiences in her perfect world full of gazebos, animals, Kool-Aid and fashion magazines. However, this perfect world Susie lives in is also a slice of hell. Without the fire and gloom, Susie reveals how she keeps track of her murderers' whereabouts as he walks among the living.

But deep into the text of Sebold’s work can bring comfort to those who have lost a loved one. Not only does the novel portray how people grieve differently with the loss of a loved one, but also how the dead cope with watching their family and friends grow old.

Sebold’s excellent use of visual imagery and her strong character development, Abigail in particular, drives the story from one chapter to the next.

Tomorrow (Jan. 15th),
The Lovely Bones, directed by Lord of the Rings' Peter Jackson, premieres nationwide. The cast is comprised of Stanley Tucci, from The Devil Wears Prada, as Susie’s killery. Mark Whalberg and Rachel Weisz play Susie’s parents. Saoirse Ronan, Oscar-nominated for her role in Atonement, plays lead Susie Salmon and Susan Sarandon is cast as Susie’s eccentric grandma, Lynn. However, with such a well-written book it will be interesting to see whether the CGI effects will take away from the magnificent and moving plot of this New York Times bestseller.

—Alisha Kinman

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