The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
July 2002, Little, Brown
Alice Sebold’s bestseller and book club favorite from 2002 has received a push of renewed interest on account of Peter Jackson’s film adaptation, in theaters everywhere on Friday. Because I didn’t read the book when it came out, I figured now was as good a time as any to dive into the story—and I’m so glad I did. Told from the perspective of Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old girl who has been raped and murdered, The Lovely Bones is, accordingly, heartbreaking. It is also hopeful, filled with moments of light and possibility as Susie’s family breaks apart, copes and finds reasons to live after their tragedy. Each of the characters in The Lovely Bones—Susie’s sister and brother; her parents; the friends she left behind; her killer—are fully formed on the page (even Susie herself, as she looks on from heaven). You will be completely sucked into their lives, grieving, laughing and healing along with them through the end.
These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections—sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent—that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life