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The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
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The Lovely Bones is one of those books it seems like everyone but me read years ago, and I'm glad I finally got around to it. It's not the only book I've ever read to be narrated by a character already dead, but this story, of a family dealing with the loss of a daughter raped and murdered at 14, is a rich one, and unique enough to be unpredictable. The characters are quite well-drawn, and Sebold resists the urge to tie off all loose ends.

On the other hand, the book has a few weaknesses, particularly toward the end. Like many other reviewers, I found Susie's return from the dead to be ridiculous and a terrible choice on many levels, the most important being that it is completely out of place in a book that is otherwise realistic (well, it's being narrated from heaven of course, but as long as Susie can't actually contact the living, who can say whether that's realistic or not?). And a few of the characters, particularly Ruth and Ray, who are not family members, seemed more profoundly impacted by Susie's death in the long run than is altogether believable. Still, if you'd like a good family drama, you could do far worse than pick this one up.
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