This one takes about 300 pages before you really start getting interested in the story, but don't worry, there are 700 pages after that are worth theThis one takes about 300 pages before you really start getting interested in the story, but don't worry, there are 700 pages after that are worth the wait. I think that everyone should try to read this book regardless of their current political views. It allows us to see business and politics in a new way. Whether you come away enlightened or appalled it will definitely get you thinking. ...more
This book is a true story that shocks you into the real world outside of the comfy confines of the United States. It made me leave the comforts of myThis book is a true story that shocks you into the real world outside of the comfy confines of the United States. It made me leave the comforts of my limited perceptions of the world to see what happens in countries that don't have the stability that we are blessed to have.
Ishmael Beah was incredibly brave to share his overwhelmingly horrible experiences with the world. The courage it must have taken to relive these terrible experiences while writing this book is very admirable. That said, I think that it serves as a great wake-up call to its readers, which I can only assume was its purpose, so hopefully writing this has been worth it to him.
This book is a quick and easy read. English is the author's second language so the wording is kept relatively simple. I recommend this book if you are looking for a good eye-opener. ...more
Brief commentary for those who have not read this yet: This book was a national bestseller, which, to me, doesn't necessarily indicate that it's a goodBrief commentary for those who have not read this yet: This book was a national bestseller, which, to me, doesn't necessarily indicate that it's a good read. However, in this particular case I can see why it became popular. This was Alice Sebold's first novel and she has a unique writing style, which I admire. The book has an imaginative plot about a young girl who is murdered and then watches life continue on without her from heaven. There were times when things were moving too slowly for me, and on several occasions I was more confused than enlightened by some of her descriptions, but this may say more about my ineptitude in finding the intended relevance in analogies as opposed to Sebold's proficiency in clarification. By the way, I blame my aversion to metaphors/analogies/similes on my father and husband who both like to use these devices in attempts to stupefy instead of clarify forcing me to over-analyze them to determine their significance, thus instilling my unnatural dislike and confusion surrounding these comparisons, which is really quite a shame since analogies can be a beautiful writing tool. Anyway, back to the book. There were also a lot of flashbacks that may help you get to know the characters better, but often times I found myself wishing she would just get back to the main story. Bottom line, it wasn't a totally engrossing page-turner, but it is worth reading if you have the time and you can't think of something more appealing to read.
Detailed Commentary (Contains Spoilers): I was completely taken aback when the main character, Susie Salmon, begins describing her murder in chapter one. It left me thinking where can this possibly go from here? The murder being as horrific and gruesome as it was does open your eyes to the dangers that could be just around the corner in even the most seemingly quintessential neighborhoods. Even though Susie Salmon ends up in her warm happy place, I was certainly nowhere near mine after reading the first few chapters of this book.
As Susie watches her family's lives fall apart for the majority of the remainder of the book I kind of started wishing we could have spent more time in Susie's heaven instead of watching the dominoes of the lives left behind continually fall. Speaking of the heaven in this book, was it just me or was anyone else a little confused about where, what, or how it was? I get the concept of "going to your happy place", and that heaven is an unknown that words can't describe, but I had trouble understanding how she could be in this idealistic heaven and in the midst of her family back home at the same time. She sat in her gazebo and watched everyone somehow. I felt out of the loop on that, but maybe I just missed something.
Her mother, Abigail, absolutely bugs! I get it, she was forced to abandon the life that she really wanted by intentionally getting married, settling down, and having kids. How could she be so unlucky? Then of course, her daughter's murder rattles her cage of sacrificial containment so much that she manages to break loose and turns into a selfish, heartless, whore-bag. The stuff dreams are made of. I'll admit she kept the story interesting at times, but like a lot of the things in this book, she left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Ray and Ruth were a boring side story until the whole Susie possessing Ruth thing happened and then things just got uncomfortable. Never mind the whole possession awkwardness, if I was raped and murdered would sex really be the one thing I would want to do if I have a few hours in a body back on earth? I don't know, I guess getting some last words in to your devastated family and catching your murderer before he kills again could take a backseat to a really phenomenal orgasm. Selfish, like mother like daughter.
As for the corporeal villain in the story, Harvey, I am left feeling disappointed. Sebold tried to give us a glimpse of his childhood as if to explain or support who he became, but I gleaned nothing from these flashbacks that would create a monster of this caliber. I felt like I was left hanging with regards to his character development. I think none would have been better than the little that we were given. Now to his demise. Though Harvey's death was most likely intended to be symbolic of a universe that naturally creates balance, i.e. an isolated, cold, and quiet killer dying an isolated, cold, and quiet death, I couldn't help but want that sicko to get caught, hung, and burned. What's the real message here? Life is never fair, but death always is? Screw that! I get enough reality in reality, I want to see some good ol' retribution in my fiction.
Finally, let me address the title "The Lovely Bones". On page 320 our title is introduced, and thus my analogy befuddlement kicks in. So, Sebold is comparing the events that took place after Susie's death to bones that will culminate and form a body at some point. Susie's family and friends are broken down by her murder and then manage to rebuild their lives in a way that would supposedly have been impossible had Susie not died. So, in this twisted analogy Susie's body is lost forever, but a new one is built with the "lovely bones" of lives rebuilt. I guess I get it, but this is one of those times were I was more confused than edified. I may be a pessimist, but even I don't think that a little girl needs to be raped and murdered in order for a few people to get their crap together. Maybe it is just me, but I don't find it lovely at all.
In the end I guess I have to give Alice Sebold kudos for getting me riled up as much as she did. She is a very talented writer. She just isn't the type of writer that I identify with. And I swear, not all of her sentiments in this book were lost on me, I just don't agree with them. ...more