The Lovely Bones

October 18, 2009 § Leave a comment

lovely_bonesAs a young girl, I was the ultimate bookworm. Only something spectacular could tear me away from a good story. But after four years as an english literature major in college, I found myself exhausted by fiction and gravitating towards more non-fiction, specifically memoirs. Even my interest in memoirs was sporadic at best because with all the “required” reading from the “literary canon” one is expected to endure as an english major, I hardly ever had the time or desire to dive into a book for purely leisure purposes. Now out of school, the days of writing 20+ page papers on books that I couldn’t really enjoy because they seemed only a means to an end (I often found myself hurrying through novels to make the grade), are over. My freedom to indulge in leisure reading on my own terms has been renewed and I feel like a kid again!

With that said, last week I strolled into Barnes & Noble and picked up a copy of the 2002 New York Times best-selling novel,The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold.

When it comes to the latest books, my reactions are super-delayed. Rave about a book you’re feeling and several years later, you’ll finally have someone to rave about it with. I’m always late, not because I don’t value others’ literary tastes, but only because, well…I forget and each day the world is on to the next bestseller. Back in high school, I remember a classmate of mine raving about how wonderful The Lovely Bones was.

But, it wasn’t until last weekend when I was sitting through a preview at the movie theater that I remembered The Lovely Bones–a book I was supposed to have read 7 years earlier. This December the book will become a feature film, directed by one of my favorite directors, Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, District 9). And it actually looks like it’ll be a worthwhile adaptation, considering how Hollywood at times tends to miss the mark with beloved novels.

Only a week later, and I’ve read it from cover to cover. The Lovely Bones, tells the story of 14-year old Susie Salmon, who after being brutally raped and murdered watches from “her heaven” as her family, friends, and murderer move on with their lives. And that quick synopsis doesn’t even give justice to the depht of this debut novel from Sebold, which could have easily turned into a simplistic, sentimental, and melodramatic tearjerker. Instead, what you get is a deeply compelling story that examines how pain and loss can be liberated through love and accepting both the past and the present. There is so much raw emotion and truth unraveling within each of the characters in this novel, that as a reader you feel obligated to turn the page to see what unfolds next–even if it hurts. The novel is powerful and in some ways unconventional. Definitely worth a read, and come December hopefully worth a watch.

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