Eleanor's Reviews > The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
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's review
Dec 08, 2009

did not like it

I really should have stuck with my gut instinct because this is one of the worst books I've forced myself to finish. Initially there was something inviting about the writing style, quirky and very slightly (in a rated-PG kind of way) offbeat which is what compelled me to read the whole thing, just to be sure Sebold didn't have some kind of smart and satisfying way of wrapping the whole thing up. Yeah. She didn't.

What baits you as a murder mystery book is actually a heaping pile of unrealistic suburban vignettes that read like a watered down soap opera. Sebold taunts you with suggestions of a story that has a destination but instead offers small segments from the lives of people the murdered girl knew. And in these segments, the peoples lives are inching forward in predictable, conventional ways, all the while the character is thinking about their murdered daughter / sister / friend / acquaintance. That's it. The family and friends are constantly grieving and coping and any small morsels of "plot" (in terms of whether or not the murderer is caught) happen for completely random reasons. The "protagonist" dead girl is entirely engulfed in self-pity, much in the same way that the mother of the girl is the real main character of the book.

No character makes a decision that is successful without being self destructive.

There was no plot except "COPING."

When Sebold got bored of telling one romantic relationship after another, she reminded you about how the girl was raped before she was murdered. Cheery.

At the end, this book had the audacity to include "Book club ideas." Which pretty much turned me off to the idea of ever joining a book club. I hear this book is being made into a movie soon. You couldn't pay me to go.

Initial reaction:

I don't know about this one... it kind of reminds me of watching the movie of "Precious." Lots of trauma and effing terrible tragedy repeatedly reminded to the reader...I think I'm about 100 pages in and hoping for some kind of meaningful plot thread to surface other than "trying to help my living family find my killer"... or at least give it a little more complexity. I'm hoping the random flashes of family history are all related somehow and aren't just a suburban vignette set in the context of tragedy. Terrible shit happening does not = instant literary depth.

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