Sebold’s novel is one of those books that garnished a lot of attention when it first came out but moved off my radar soon after it was turned into a movie. Just about everyone of my friends on GoodReads has read the book or plans to read the book. The novel appeared back on my radar after I found a barely used copy at my public library’s used book sale almost a year ago.
The novel, for those of you who do not know, is about a sexual assault and murder as recounted by the victim. From her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Susie (and the reader) await anxiously for someone — anyone — to bring her killer to justice.
At first, I was fully engrossed in this tale. Normally finding out whodunit is the motivator behind the plot but, in this case, the motivation is a family’s grief and a father’s quest for justice. It is an ambitious idea that, unfortunately, fails to carry the reader all the way through the novel.
This is due mostly to the fact that Susie’s memory starts to fade: her sister wants to stop being the girl whose sister as murdered, her friends and classmates move on to high school, and the police label her case as cold. Even Susie seems to have given up on her murder ever being solved. Is it realistic that Susie’s case would go cold? Yes, of course! But it doesn’t make for a very satisfying or compelling read. And then there’s everything about Ruth, which I won’t spoil here but will you that I shut my eyes and tried to will myself not to remember those parts.
- Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2002. Print. 323 pgs. ISBN: 9780316666343. Source: Purchased.