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Monday, February 15, 2010

The Lovely Bones

Image found here.

The Lovely Bones is the only book I’ve ever read that I threw away the moment I finished it. While reading it I wanted to run away and hide from what was happening in the story, but once I started it I knew I had to finish. Reading it is a journey worth taking, but it’s difficult. Be prepared to do some heavy soul-searching. And if you’ve been sexually abused, like 3 out of 4 girls in America, be prepared to relieve a bit of your awful memories.

The Lovely Bones forced me to find faith in a pitiful and hopeless situation. This was not easy to do, but Alice Sebold has a gift because at the end of the book I did find some sort of peace.

Photograph of author Alice Sebold found here.

Sebold writes about rape and murder in the same time-line as heaven and second chances. I don’t know how she did this, but I have an idea she’s probably lived through some tragedy herself.

On the first page of the novel, I learned that 14-year old Susie Salmon has just been raped and murdered by her neighbor. From page 1, there’s no chance this girl will be found alive, no likelihood that she’ll escape her capture. This reality is difficult to swallow and at times seems horribly unfair, but this is Susie’s story to tell. Throughout the book she lives between heaven and earth; helping her family solve the mystery of her death while trying to understand why this happened to her. Susie still has dreams and regrets, a crush on a boy from school and an unwavering love for her family. Watching her dad suffer is the hardest of all. She feels an obligation to make things right again, especially for him.

And her murderer? She visits him and sees inside his twisted mind. She sees the other girls he’s raped and murdered and in one horrible scene, she stares at her own bones.

It doesn’t leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, does it?

When The Lovely Bones came out as a movie, I knew I had to see it, but with the counselor by my side of course. He was there, when I started crying the first minute of the movie. He helped me through it, like he’s helped me through so many other emotional journeys. Men need to see this movie too. They need to understand how fragile the world is for a girl who’s trapped in abuse, any form of abuse. They need to reach out and help the girl who lives in a world where she is threatened just because she’s a girl.

Image found here.

The Lovely Bones may not have been the best movie to see while expecting our first girl, but it was a good dose of reality. I appreciate the symbolism in various writing styles and I had to see Sebold’s words adapted to film.

Sebold’s writing is perfect therapy for a girl or woman who’s been raped or sexually abused. It dissects almost every conceivable emotion and feeling a girl might have after going through such a terrible experience. It asks “what if” questions all over the place.

And if you’ve never been sexually abused, it will heighten your senses and force you to look at your surroundings a little differently. I think this book will save hundreds, if not thousands of girls from sexual abuse. It may even change some perpetrator from doing something awful.

And I guess that’s the peace I found in the end.


  1. Wonderful review! I just ordered the book myself, and now I know I need to prepare myself emotionally before I delve into it.

  2. I can't believe i won!!!!!!!!!HAAAAAAA

    Very good book review. I am sure it will help a lot of women. XOXO