Monday, March 01, 2010

Staff Book Review: The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

What happens when we die? Do our souls watch over the people we left behind? Are we, on earth, guided by the messages we receive? What happens if the messages come from a fourteen-year-old who is brutally molested and then murdered by a neighbor on her own block?

Alice Sebold writes her version of this scenario in her heart-wrenching, yet redeeming novel, The Lovely Bones. Of significance is the fact that the author is a survival of a brutal rape. Much of her writing continues to be her search for a life that incorporates her personal trauma. Of note also, is the short essay Sebold writes at the end of the novel which is entitled The Oddity of Suburbia. Despite the identical houses, the well tended lawns, the appearance of "normalcy", there are a thousand stories behind the closed drapes. No two of these stories are the same. Sebold calls us to "look harder in the suburbs, past the floor plans and into the human heart". I would add that the message of The Lovely Bones is precisely to look harder at each person we encounter, each behavior presented, to look into each and every persons' heart.

Reviewed by Janet Elfant

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