“The Lovely Bones” is a 2002 novel by American writer Alice Sebold. It is the story of a teenage girl who, after being raped and murdered, watches her friends and family from her personal Heaven struggle to move on with their lives while she comes to terms with her own death. Susie Salmon was raped and murdered by her neighbour at the age of fourteen by her neighbour George Harvey.
After Susie’s family hear that their daughter is missing or potentially murdered they say “nothing is ever certain.” I can relate to this quote and the mindset that Susie’s parents have, this mindset often comes when bad things happen or things don’t turn out as expected and you wish you could turn back the clock and do things differently. In “The Lovely Bones” Susie’s parents hope that they could have saved her or prevented her death. In their hearts they knew that she was gone, that is why they repeated the quote “nothing is ever certain” to cover their pain and to try and convince themselves that Susie wasn’t gone.
A section of text that I found quite compelling and that inspired the title of this novel is : “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 my death brought 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.” I thought this section was significant because the title is derived from it and it really impacted me and made me think differently about how Alice Sebold portrayed loss in this novel. Susie says something about how the only thing that remains are the lovely bones meaning what she left behind and the impact she left on people after she was murdered. All of the good things that happened to the people she loved after Susie’s death and the lovely things in life that grew around them, and gradually brought them together. She said this to change the way the reader thought about her death, and to make us realise that after death things can be okay, or maybe even lovely. In my life I have felt the impact of death and I can agree that there are “lovely bones” left and they bring people closer.
I think this is quite an extreme book and it’s plot isn’t very common in the real world but I am aware that this kind of stuff does happen and when I first read this book it made me very paranoid. The part of the book that fueled this paranoia was the lack of detective work done about Susie’s murder. The detective (Len Fenerman) gave up on the case after a few months and when Susie’s dad suspected George Harvey he disregarded this suspicion but after George Harvey left town he found out that it was him. This upset me because this could happen to anyone and the killer could be let go and continue murdering.
In conclusion, “The Lovely Bones” was a compelling novel and it impacted my view on death and crime, it also had factors that reminded me of myself, Alice Sebold wrote a very thought provoking story.