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The Lovely Bones
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Archive - Group Reads > Lovely Bones, The - May 2014

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message 1: by Leigh (new)

Leigh | 6313 comments The third of our May Group Reads is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. The group lead for this discussion is Lucy(Thank you!).


As usual please note we discuss all aspects of the books we read - the plots, the characters, the settings and so on - on our discussions threads. Hence the discussion threads will contain spoilers from the start. if you haven't finished the book yet be careful not to read others' posts until the end.
Feel free to use the spoiler tags, if you like.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Summary: On her way home from school on a snowy December day in 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon ("like the fish") is lured into a makeshift underground den in a cornfield and brutally raped and murdered, the latest victim of a serial killer--the man she knew as her neighbor, Mr. Harvey.

Alice Sebold's haunting and heartbreaking debut novel, The Lovely Bones, unfolds from heaven, where "life is a perpetual yesterday" and where Susie narrates and keeps watch over her grieving family and friends, as well as her brazen killer and the sad detective working on her case. As Sebold fashions it, everyone has his or her own version of heaven. Susie's resembles the athletic fields and landscape of a suburban high school: a heaven of her "simplest dreams," where "there were no teachers.... We never had to go inside except for art class.... The boys did not pinch our backsides or tell us we smelled; our textbooks were Seventeen and Glamour and Vogue."


message 2: by Leigh (new)

Leigh | 6313 comments I have always left this off my list because of the rape. I just can't read about that.


message 3: by Gar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Gar (dublin_reader) I started this early and finished it yesterday. I didn enjoy but didn't like the ending


message 4: by Gar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Gar (dublin_reader) I agree with you Jamie. That did annoy me as well


Karen (karen94066) | 254 comments I attempted to read this when it came out. I never finished it, mainly due to life getting in the way.
I remember liking the writing, especially her view of heaven, but the story must have kept me from picking it up again.

I have now put the audio on in the car, so I will try to "read" it that way. Unfortunately, my communite is only 2 miles each way...Hope to finish it before the end of the month :)


Francie Grice | 48 comments Really liked this story. The rape and murder was terrible, but the rest of the story really pulls you in. I loved the description of her heaven.


Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 88 comments I read lots of murder mysteries where terrible things happen, but the perspective of the victim is something that kept me away from TLB for months. I'm so glad I overcame my reluctance and read this beautiful book. I listened to it, actually, which made it easier to power through the unpleasant part of the book. The description of the rape and murder was horrific, but the reading of it went quickly and there was so much more to the book. The last line stays with me to this day, something like "I wish you all a long and happy life." A perfect way to end this book.


Dana | 14 comments I thought the book was great. Obviously the beginning is difficult, but once you get past it I found it lovely. I didn't read this book for many years because I thought it would be difficult and depressing. That did not turn out to be true for me.


Dana | 14 comments Jamie Lynn wrote: "She writes beautifully though. I love how she writes. [spoilers removed]"

Jamie Lynn wrote: "The rape takes place in the first 15 pages. We know immediately who did it. The rest is about the victim's case and everyone involved. It follows the lives of her family and the investigation itsel..."

I agree Jamie


message 10: by Christine (new)

Christine Wahl (maddashin) | 135 comments Finished up the day it was announced


message 11: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy (coffeeknut) | 2 comments I enjoyed the book very much and at parts it made me ugly cry. I Liked the fact that it showed how it effected her family and others around her after it first happened and years after the fact.


message 12: by Christine (new)

Christine Wahl (maddashin) | 135 comments It was not what I expected. I thought it would be more of a murder/mystery/thriller. I found it to really be a very gentle book. Once again from the reviews I thought this was going to be an outstanding book.

I did not find it upsetting at all. I don't mean to say I condone murder or enjoy it but compared to other books about serial killers this was nothing.

The murder and rape were over quickly. I honestly felt there were going to be many more murders.

This was more of a book on how the survivors of such a tragedy cope with the entire thing. The shock, possible revenge, obsession and healing. Everyone from family members to friends and more.

Even the experiences of each of the above was not that intricate. I personally did not find the book emotional at all.

The writer was a victim herself. Perhaps she was relaying what happened to her family members. Not sure if it was more fiction or truth.

Three stars from me.

Enjoy!


message 13: by Gar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Gar (dublin_reader) The thinking about this book for a few days my thoughts on it are it was well written and I likes the idea if heaven that Susie ends up in . I didn't find the book too shocking as the gruesome sections are over quickly and not too descriptive I assume this also allows for a younger age group to read it .

The parts I didn't like were the police seemed stupid never followed up any checks on the murder and took everything at his word how easy would it be able to find out if he was married I know we are talking an era before computers but there was still records back then.


message 14: by Christine (new)

Christine Wahl (maddashin) | 135 comments I loved Suzie's mom. Showed just how grief can affect all of us. How the husband and wife once so close could become so distant. She loved those children


message 15: by Christine (new)

Christine Wahl (maddashin) | 135 comments I think it was really a hard book to write. It could have been longer if they really went into detail about each person. But, would it have become boring? Probably for me. I really had to use my imagination with the father. I think they were trying to make him look like he was really obsessed with the killer. It was not portrayed deeply enough. But, it would take so much more writing to do so. So, i used my imagination and pretended he was a lot more obsessed than portrayed.


message 16: by Gar (new) - rated it 3 stars

Gar (dublin_reader) Jamie Lynn wrote: "I agree Garret. The police were pretty stupid. I didn't like Len at all. [spoilers removed]"

Yes for sure Len took advantage.

Jamie Lynn wrote: "Did anyone like Suzie's mom?"


I didn't like Susie mother's. I don't know the answer but would a mother really do what she done with the loss of one child ?


Stephanie (the nerdy princess) (sareiner) | 2 comments By far one of the best books i have read so far..the movie is even great to!


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) I loved the book. people who see the movie first will likely suspect to go into it thinking it is similar - but whereas the movie focused on the crime and the mystery of it, the book makes the killer in the background so it could focus on the people who mattered - herself, the family, some friends, and the effects of the grief. It was never a revenge story at all like the movie.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Jamie Lynn wrote: "The rape takes place in the first 15 pages. We know immediately who did it. The rest is about the victim's case and everyone involved. It follows the lives of her family and the investigation itsel..."

Regarding your spoiler, I think its' because at this point Suzi wanted to experience something wonderful she never did since she had one last chance. True, the killers identity would help other girls, so she could have looked at it that way, but she was grasping at doing one last special thing with someone before she was left. It didn't really strike me as strange


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Christine wrote: "I loved Suzie's mom. Showed just how grief can affect all of us. How the husband and wife once so close could become so distant. She loved those children"

Exactly. The mom was a good person and I'm sure she loved her children - some people, to stay sane, must leave. As selfish as it sounds, there have been cases where people have been forced to stay when they shouldn't, go insane, and then you can have worse consequences for all involved IMO.


Stephanie (the nerdy princess) (sareiner) | 2 comments Erin (Paperback Stash) wrote: "I loved the book. people who see the movie first will likely suspect to go into it thinking it is similar - but whereas the movie focused on the crime and the mystery of it, the book makes the kill..."

i was glad i read the book first before i saw the movie, because i kept telling my husband that the book is very different!


Jerika (jerikaomandam) | 1 comments (view spoiler)


message 23: by Christine (new)

Christine Wahl (maddashin) | 135 comments Real life experience.

Friend lost child at young age . She was with him day and night at home and hospital.

Had another son. Her older son basically had to stay with different people because younger brother was always deathly sick or in hospital .

Younger son dies.

Older brother feels misplaced and does not understand why brother gets all attention from mom. When son dies mother can barely hold it together. Marriage breaks up immediately. Both husband and wife have affairs And more than one each. This continues on pretty much for the rest of her life . Does not make any commitments. Probably feels she should not get emotionally involved because person will leave anyway.

Has behavior that most people would think is not normal. Who determines what is normal.
Rides motor cycles at 50. Her own. Gets involved with married men and does not care
And plenty more.
Then becomes real religious for a period. I can go on and on

Second son gets married then divorced. Second son s wife dies of breast cancer leaving two children behind . Very sad.

She was my best friend so I have seen first hand what can happen . There is lots more to the story.

It was mentioned that if she loved her kids she should have taken them with her. I think a she was a housewife going to find herself. She probably could not afford to take them. I know plenty of single moms today that could never afford to take care of there children on there own. Doesn t mean they don t love them. Just leaving them in a stable environment. I also feel she was going what was best for them by leaving them behind.

Just my observation.


message 24: by Christine (new)

Christine Wahl (maddashin) | 135 comments There was a movie about this book?


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Christine wrote: "Real life experience.

Friend lost child at young age . She was with him day and night at home and hospital.

Had another son. Her older son basically had to stay with different people because ..."


That's a sad story, an similar to how I think of with the mother of the book.

It is easy to judge looking from the outside, and of course not everyone reacts the same.

Some people have to shut down from everyone. My mother had to emotionally disconnect from all because of severe post-traumatic stress disorder for awhile to heal and get better and be able to come back to us.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Christine wrote: "There was a movie about this book?"

I really loathed the movie. It focused on the killer and mainly justice - I prefer the book and how it focuses on family and the girl instead. It didn't translate well to me because I hate melodrama on the film and I thought it had it big time.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Jamie Lynn wrote: "She could have taken her kids with her. I understand that the husband was obsessed and hard to live with. They just lost their sister and then they had to deal with abandonment. The parents could have shared visitation. If he had custody, she could have seen them on a regular basis. It was pure selfishness.

I was surprised that her husband wanted her back.



It was a selfish act but sometimes people cut off from everyone to stay sane, which is how I saw her character. It really is a shame but is a fact. Like I said in my other post above, it's easy to judge other people when one is looking from the outside. It was definitely a selfish act but I try to stand back and look at all views and not just my own and not be quick to close my mind too narrowly in the definition of how others may act.


Tonya Mathis | 73 comments I wasn't sure about this book in the beginning.
But I kept reading and kind of got sucked in to it. The narrator's POV from heaven, or what she thinks heaven is, is wonderful. And how she watches over everyone as they cope day to day without her. I may or may not see the movie. But I will read this book again.


message 29: by Christine (new)

Christine Wahl (maddashin) | 135 comments Erin. Was the movie the same title as book.


message 30: by Christine (new)

Christine Wahl (maddashin) | 135 comments Thanks Jaimie


message 31: by Christine (new)

Christine Wahl (maddashin) | 135 comments If everyone would like to see how some families deal with different tragedies in their lives watch the movie
August Osage County
Excellent


Kelly (marquis784) | 35 comments I have had this on my to read list. Sounds like am interesting story.


message 33: by Elaine (new)

Elaine | 53 comments Leigh wrote: "The third of our May Group Reads is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. The group lead for this discussion is Lucy(Thank you!).

as another reader says on post that she didn't care for the part on rape
As usual please note we discuss all asp..."



Portia | 308 comments Just started this an hour ago and wish I could cancel my plans for this evening because I am caught up in it. Well, Portia Scarlatt, there is always always tomorrow :-)


Linda (beaulieulinda117gmailcom) | 1147 comments I didn't like the ending at all. They never found her body.


Portia | 308 comments I am nearly finished reading. What has struck me throughout is Sebold's gift for creating an atmosphere. I grew up north of where the story takes place. Alice Sebold brought back every mile of my car journey home from New York to PA for Thanksgiving the year before the time of Suzie's murder. I am reliving sunsets in PA in November.


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* (erinpaperbackstash) Jamie Lynn wrote: "Portia I love Sebold's writing style."

I did with this book as well. Haven't read anything else by her yet. I felt emotion strongly through her writing and she was excellent with atmosphere, as others have said.


VickiLee | 251 comments When I first realized who the narrator was, I nearly tossed the book into a never-to-be-read pile. But I chided myself for my knee-jerk reaction, and continued to read. Thank goodness. It is a wonderful novel that evokes tremendous emotion and compassion for a family and a town who suffer a horrible loss.


Karen I moved 3 months ago. Am way out in the rural Ozarks. Tuesday I was finally able to get to the library and get a card. Really late, but starting this book today. I have wanted to read it for awhile. I want to watch the movie also.


Karen Christine wrote: "If everyone would like to see how some families deal with different tragedies in their lives watch the movie
August Osage County
Excellent"


It sounds like a pretty good movie based on a book. sometimes they are not that good.


Karen Jamie Lynn wrote: "The rape takes place in the first 15 pages. We know immediately who did it. The rest is about the victim's case and everyone involved. It follows the lives of her family and the investigation itsel..."
Since I am just starting the book, I am waiting to read this when i am finished , but it is really hard not to since I am curious.


Karen Jamie Lynn wrote: "Some people thought that [spoilers removed]"

I took it as he did kill her also.


Karen Jamie Lynn wrote: "Hi Karen. These conversations can go on way past the month. I look forward to seeing how you like the book." Thanks, I have only 20 pages or so left.


message 44: by Natalie (new) - added it

Natalie | 2 comments I read this book when it first came out. The writing is riveting. The perspective incredible. Yes, it is a sad story, but one that is an untold story of thousands of girls...I thought it was a very good storyline.


message 45: by Natalie (new) - added it

Natalie | 2 comments And for the record the movie was awful. In my opinion they did a terrible job translating the book to screen.


Karen Jamie Lynn wrote: "Karen wrote: "Jamie Lynn wrote: "Hi Karen. These conversations can go on way past the month. I look forward to seeing how you like the book." Thanks, I have only 20 pages or so left."

You're a fas..."


Thanks, I finished this book that night, but then my apartment I have waited for opened up and Ihad to pack and move, plus get the internet hooked up which took a week after I got phone service.

I liked her style of writing. I did not like the ending too well. The ending disappointed me so much. It was rather silly.I might read one of her others and might not. I gave it a 3 or 4 stars.


Maggie the Muskoka Library Mouse (mcurry1990) I really enjoyed this book. It was a favourite of one of my roommates in university, and we talked for hours about it once I'd read it. I haven't seen the movie yet, and I'm not sure I will. My roommate said that it was nowhere near what she was picturing as she read, and so she was quite disappointed. Does anyone here disagree? Is the movie worth watching?


Kelly (marquis784) | 35 comments Karen wrote: "Jamie Lynn wrote: "Karen wrote: "Jamie Lynn wrote: "Hi Karen. These conversations can go on way past the month. I look forward to seeing how you like the book." Thanks, I have only 20 pages or so l..."

I agree. I was disappointed by the ending. I was invested until the ending.


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