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Loathed Titles > The Lovely Bones

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message 1: by Jackie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Jackie | 27 comments First of all--no one warned me! If you've read the first chapter of this book, you will know what I mean. Ugh! I was traumatized--I might even say victimized by the first chapter. I also suspected that the book was a fantasy written by a survivor of child molestation or sexual abuse (synonyms?). As it turns out, it was. The prose felt very much like someone working through their therapy--how they survived. Which I applaud. But I didn't find it at all entertaining. All the gushing over this book did not resonate with me at all. In fact, I interpreted it, afterward, as deception. So if you loved this book, please explain.


message 2: by Christen (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Christen | 61 comments I agree, Jackie. I was traumatized by this book as well. After reading the first chapter, I put the book down and didn't come back to it for almost 3 months. I shouldn't have bothered. Bleh.


message 3: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:58AM) (new)

Laura (laurahogan) I wasn't traumatized by this book in the same sense you guys are saying you were, but hated it anyway. Gimmicky as could be, and about as manipulative a book as I've ever read. Was it an Oprah book? Because this was the sort of thing that I assume Oprah would love.


message 4: by John (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:39PM) (new)

John I listened to it on audio. I guess it wasn't as creepy hearing Susie tell her own story in a non-traumatized manner.


message 5: by Claire (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:04PM) (new)

Claire (deborahclaire) | 17 comments Not only do you love "The Office," but you also hated The Lovely Bones? Jackie, you are my new bff!

Um, I would like to add that I loathed this book passionately after I first finished it. Now that it's been several years, I've cooled down and had some time to reflect.

Nope, still hate it.

For lack of a better way to phrase this...it was just so lifeless. The "heroine" (was she even that?) was dull as a doorknob.

And the fact that they never caught the guy? Seriously?


message 6: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:04PM) (new)

Laura | 29 comments I bought the premise of Lovely Bones, but... at times, the voice sounded almost smug ("I know something that you don't know nyah nyah"), and the pacing really bothered me. It's like the editor said "this book needs to be shorter" and rather than tighten up the entire thing, Sebold just clipped stuff from the last 1/6 or so.

Unfortunately, I live near a town with a similar crime and the guy was never caught, so that part seemed real.


message 7: by Jessica (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:04PM) (new)

Jessica | 3 comments The ending of this book made me furious. I hated how it ended. I felt like I knew the characters and I felt like they let me down.

Sebold was writing, while dealing with her own rape. It's said she was writing it, had to deal with things--wrote Lucky--and then went back and finished The Lovely Bones.

Lucky is tough to read, but I thought it was a better book.


message 8: by ScottK (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

ScottK Uh note to Claire : telling us they never caught the guy is kinda irritating, especially those of us who were going to try it.Even if it is so heavily hated.


message 9: by Claire (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:14PM) (new)

Claire (deborahclaire) | 17 comments Sorry, Scottk...If you haven't read/finished the book yet, I think you'll find it not a big spoiler if a spoiler at all. My apologies!


message 10: by Anne (new)

Anne I just hated the way "heaven" was in the book. It seemed too depressing. That would be more like my hell.


message 11: by Kate (new)

Kate (kay8jay) | 16 comments Talking of "therapy" - this book group on Books I Loathed is therapy! Especially when it comes to books that "everyone" seems to like and by not liking a certain book, you wonder if you missed something.

Yes! Lovely Bones = bad! I agree with so many of the sentiments written here. Especially with the use of the word "manipulative." Indeed, I felt manipulated by the author. I cried in some parts, but I felt like it was pre-scripted for me to do so, you know?

And regarding Anne's comment, I, too, thought that that kind of heaven was WAY depressing! Thank you for the validation.

I did, however, like "Lucky." But I didn't like THAT one at first, either. There was this one line that was "getting" to me - I felt the old manipulation-ship happening - but then I thought, well, just get over that one line and keep reading. It was especially interesting to me how she met some prominent literary figures early in her life.

Oh - and SPOILER ALERT - re: the ending of the "Lovely Bones" ...

I know that the guy didn't get caught officially, but if I remember right, it was implied that he was quite close to getting caught. I believe he was getting sloppy with his crimes and going a little crazy: it was only a matter of time. Something like that. But I also would have liked to hear the jail door slam shut on him.


message 12: by Megan (new)

Megan | 1 comments I thought it was way too gimick-y. It felt like a lot of the attention Lovely Bones recieved was because of the way it was written, and why the author was writting it rather than for either the quality of writing or the content.

I agree with everyone's comments about the main character. She wasn't even enough of an I-guy -- and I hate I-guys -- or a Mary Sue -- and I hate them with even more passion -- to come across as anything more than a cardboard cut-out.

I didn't like heaven, the ending, or even how the family was portrayed. It all felt very ... bland, strangly so since the beginning chapter had more oomph.

I think the first chapter was more personal -- and thus had more impact (at least for me, in the reading of it) -- but that she then backed off in the rest of the book, to hold the survivors and the aftermath at a bit of a distance, as if she didn't want to hurt them, or be hurt by them herself.

I liked the 'feel' of the writing of the book, even if I liked nothing else about it. Does that make sense?


Shannon (Giraffe Days) (giraffe_days) I had to read this for one of my bookclubs last year and I have to say I never would have read it otherwise. My instincts in this case were sound: I really didn't care for it. (I do love my bookclubs though, for the chance to read books I never would have read otherwise, and to discuss them - I've found some gems this way.)

It reminded me a lot of a cheesy telly-movie. It was self-indulgent, which is never a good thing. I didn't find it traumatising, but I agree with whoever said the main character was dull. Yes, very dull, and I didn't like the "chance" the author gave her to be with whats-his-name (sorry, I've forgotten their names!).


Shannon (Giraffe Days) (giraffe_days) Oh, and I whole-heartedly agree with Natalie. I hate being forced to feel a certain way, and I found the author writes with a very heavy hand. Labours the point quite a bit. I hear her new book is awful.


Shannon (Giraffe Days) (giraffe_days) I've heard of that book. It's very long, that's all I know about it (oh, and aren't they making a movie of it?). That's her husband? Thanks for the rec., I probably would never have considered reading it otherwise (I usually wait for recs from friends if a book doesn't catch my attention on its own).

You're right, Ruth was a surprisingly interesting character - surprising, because I sometimes thought she'd wandered into the wrong book.


message 16: by Skylar (new)

Skylar Burris (skylarburris) | 32 comments I hated how the book ended (so wild and out of keeping with the rest of it), but otherwise I "liked" The Lovely Bones, if you can use such a words a "liked." I was sucked into it, read it in one gulp, and was moved by it. If only she had had a more realistic ending. What WAS that craziness?


message 17: by Therese (new)

Therese | 3 comments I disagree with a lot of what has been said in this discussion.

This book was excellent--for the first half of the book. Then, the author put it aside, dealt with her issues that had prompted the writing of it in the first place, and returned to it. The second half was contrived, poorly written, and it seemed as though Sebold grabbed ideas as they floated on by and used them desperately. It slowed to a halt, and - SPOILER ALERT - the part where Sebold had her main character possess a girl she had briefly known was cheesy and ridiculous. The second half was just poorly done.

The reason I loathed this book was because Sebold can turn a phrase, but the ideas became weak and desperate midpoint. It's the same disappointed feeling you get when you see the potential for something great, and it falls short. It frustrated me, tremendously.


message 18: by Therese (last edited May 13, 2008 08:41AM) (new)

Therese | 3 comments I agree with Skylar completely. What happened was she stepped away from her book and finished it once she had dealt with the raw emotion that had sparked the book to begin with.


message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahsari) I thought this book was awful - I just sold my hardback at a garage sale and was very happy to get $.50 for it. Glad to have the room on my shelf.


message 20: by Katy (new)

Katy | 1 comments I actually really liked the book-the only thing I hated was it was kinda random with her sister's sex scenes in there...and I hated all the jumping around it did.


message 21: by Tara (new)

Tara (tbm126) | 26 comments The book was completely bland and just awful. I wasn't traumatized by it becuase I had been properly prepared, but I could not see why anyone would actually have recommended it to me.


message 22: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jpnwt) | 21 comments I thought The Lovely Bones was riveting, and could not put it down. But like so many have said, the ending was such a disappointment. It was sad when Susie's mom left, but ridiculous that she came back 8 years later and they were a happy family again. It was beyond ridiculous that Susie possessed Ruth's body - but if it had to happen, surely she could have done something more worthwhile than have sex??? Like maybe telling someone where her mortal remains were, or telling someone where Mr. Harvey was, or finding a way to give some comfort to her father. And killing Harvey off with an icicle? That was just dumb and lazy. Of course I wanted him to be caught, but if that couldn't happen, a better ending would have been to let him live in to old age, no one ever discovering what a monster he was, and then dying of natural causes, and then we could've glimpsed his hell as we did Susie's heaven. I would've liked to see him in hell.


message 23: by Terry (new)

Terry | 10 comments Good writing is different....a departure from the Fabio-covered bodice-rippers....the Grisham courtrooms...from a Stephen King 'scare du jour'... and comes from the writer's heart and gut...and leaves some of those on the table. Alice Sebold put together a riveting tale......but an even MORE haunting story is her own memoir, "Lucky"....THAT book still haunts me!...and makes me more fully appreciate The Lovely Bones. Kurt Vonnegut was able to insert his own experience into most of his writing...and, like Ms. Sebold, make it both personal and entertaining. Sorry. I appreciated this book....now, if you want to talk LOATHE....The Life of Pi....


message 24: by Anna (new)

Anna | 221 comments Thanks for the info guys! My book group (whose tastes I usually disagree with anyway) has been tossing this title around like we're somehow deficient humans for not having read it before. Now I know to stay far far away!!


message 25: by Emerald (new)

Emerald (Emmeraldd) | 2 comments I too was seriously creeped out by this book. The writing was good and the story line was..good i guess, but WHO WOULD WANT TO WRITE ABOUT SUCH A DISTURBING TOPIC??!!! Im just saying.


message 26: by Janelle (new)

Janelle Dazzlepants (janelledazzlepants) I loved the first few chapters of the book, but despised the rest of it. It was so boring, there was no momentum on the case, and everybody sort of just forgot about Susie :|

And Ruth being possessed by Susie felt like such a copout. I seriously thought she was going to tell Ray where her body was! Especially since Ray and Ruth had visited/were visiting the sinkhole.

Did anybody else hate the mother? I got so annoyed at how often the book talked about how she didnt want kids - yet she went on to have 2 more after Susie. And then her and Len Fenerman and her running away made me dislike her even more. Then she came back and EVERYTHING WAS OKAY >=|

George Harvey's death was the most pathetic thing. It's like the author thought 'oh heyyyy probably should kill him off or something, right?' and slipped it in right at the end.

Also, the way the author wrote about Ruth's ~ability to see murdered women made me think she was just delusional. But then Susie possessed her and I couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous it all was.


message 27: by Anna Mae (new)

Anna Mae Wait it's not good? Man I wanted to read it!


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

I wanted to read it too....I haven't...yet. I'm planning on reading it when I'm a little older. Maybe the reason you guys didn't like it is because you're too young...my 40 year old mother absolutely loves it...so..


message 29: by Janelle (last edited Jan 01, 2010 07:15PM) (new)

Janelle Dazzlepants (janelledazzlepants) Rilee wrote: "I wanted to read it too....I haven't...yet. I'm planning on reading it when I'm a little older. Maybe the reason you guys didn't like it is because you're too young...my 40 year old mother absolutely loves it...so.."

I personally dont think age has anything to do with it - unless it's reading level - I think it has more to do with how critical you are of a text. I find that some people are pretty passive readers, whereas others (like myself) will critically evaluate and deconstruct the text as theyre reading it, finding things they do and dont like.

I find that I have a friend who will accept EVERYTHING the author tells her, and if I question it she says 'oh but thats the way such-and-such-character is'. Whereas I think it's perfectly fine to dislike things about a book, to take issue with writing style and consistency and what not, as long as you dont go overboard :P


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

I definately know what you mean, Jerry. It makes sense that whoever it is reading it makes a difference HOW they read. But I guess what I was trying to say is that it's not very appropriate for teenagers...or so I hear from my mom.


message 31: by Janelle (new)

Janelle Dazzlepants (janelledazzlepants) Rilee wrote: "But I guess what I was trying to say is that it's not very appropriate for teenagers...or so I hear from my mom. "
It's not too bad, the start is a bit shocking, but I guess it wasnt as horrifying as I thought it would be. I am personally more traumatised by Law and Order SVU episodes :P



message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

yeah. well i usually just take my mom's word for it. and i'm not going to read it


message 33: by Stacie (new)

Stacie Jones | 1 comments I will admit the beginning of this book was shocking and I put it down for a day or two. I really thought that this book was going to be about her helping her family find her killer. Then I realized it was really about the way her death affected everyone she knew abd the "Lovely Bones" that was created from the tragedy. I really ended liking this book quite a bit.


message 34: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 1 comments very good book, as far as writing, but I was very bothered by the writing of what happened to the girl, and more bothered by the ending and how it really didnt end well at all.


message 35: by Carlotta (new)

Carlotta (gamine_2063) | 1 comments Anne wrote: "I just hated the way "heaven" was in the book. It seemed too depressing. That would be more like my hell."

I also agree with Anne about the horrid description of Heaven. I read this book years ago, and it's all I really remember now about the book. I didn't find the book that interesting, but most of my dislike came from what a turn off the idea of Heaven was. In an effort not to give anything away, I will just say that if that is what the author's idea of Heaven is, what is their idea of Hell?


message 36: by Janelle (new)

Janelle Dazzlepants (janelledazzlepants) Have you seen the movie? Her heaven is much more depressing and hell-ish in the movie D: it makes the book heaven look like the most glorious place on earth, haha.


message 37: by Kate (new)

Kate (katiebobus) | 136 comments Mod
I thought she was in "the in-between" and not heaven?


message 38: by Karen (new)

Karen Jackie wrote: "First of all--no one warned me! If you've read the first chapter of this book, you will know what I mean. Ugh! I was traumatized--I might even say victimized by the first chapter. I also suspected ..."

Spoiler! Hi Jackie, having read through responses to your question I can understand why some people find Susie coming back to earth and doing what she does hard to believe but for me her being with Ray is about longing and healing. I found this book to be very sad but also hopeful and not because of heaven or even that the dead remain with us but because the book ends with the Salmon family together once again, not perfect but together. I read excerpts from a diary kept by the sister of a young girl who went missing from a place called Moone, Ireland in the 90's and this book brought back to me the experiences and heartache depicted in that real life diary. For me what the book tries to tell us is the power of love to heal if we can only keep faith with each other.
As for why someone would write about this topic; why do people continue to visit the Anne Frank Haus in Amsterdam or ground zero in New York? I think it is to understand what it is that frightens us/society most and by understanding, preventing.


message 39: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (LMulls) I didn't really mind it too much, but by the end with Suzie and the boy, I was rather creeped out.


message 40: by Susan (new)

Susan I just finished reading the book for the second time. I really liked it. For anyone who has been through something that shakes their world and turns it upside down, not necessarily murder, but anything traumatic, you wonder how you can manage to go own and live your life in a normal way. This is a book about healing and about the survivors trying to rebuild their lives after a tragedy.


message 41: by Carey (new)

Carey Combe (careycombe) I never fancied reading this book and finally bought it to read after so many people said “it was brilliant”. Unfortunately then decided to look it up on Goodreads! HGaving never even read the book the comments about manipulation, heaven etc were the very reasons I never read it, so it will be interesting if I agree with you...


message 42: by Janelle (new)

Janelle Dazzlepants (janelledazzlepants) Kate wrote: "I thought she was in "the in-between" and not heaven?"

In the book it's referred to only a couple of times as the in-between, most of the time she calls it "my heaven". I actually wish they'd have focused more in the in-between and that concept, instead it just seemed like a big happy waiting room


message 43: by ♥Jenny♥ (new)

♥Jenny♥ Why didnt you like the lovely bones? I liked it, and I saw the movie. The movie was okay, but the book was pretty good. The author also got molested herself, so I'm sure some of it was based on personal expierence. What did you guys think?


message 44: by Devan, Sarcasm Expert (last edited Apr 02, 2010 09:17AM) (new)

Devan, Sarcasm Expert (CuriousCat) | 9 comments When I first heard about the Lovely Bones it was when the movie was comming out. I saw that first then read the book which I almost never do. The movie was dissapointing yet semi-funny, it was much better than the book. I hated the mother just who was just aweful, and I loved how Buckly told her to fuck off. Some scenes were traumatizing, while others just didn't belong. The only thing I liked about it was Buckly and the Dad. The sister I didn't really care for, but the Grandma was alright.


Devan, Sarcasm Expert (CuriousCat) | 9 comments Well in both the movie and book the sister got pregnant but in the movie it was in her teens. Also when the Grandmom came over, and the car scene. That's it just really small parts.


message 46: by ♥Jenny♥ (new)

♥Jenny♥ Devan wrote: "Well in both the movie and book the sister got pregnant but in the movie it was in her teens. Also when the Grandmom came over, and the car scene. That's it just really small parts."

The sister didn't get pregnant in the movie...did she? I don't remember. I thought that the grandmother was funny. She was crazy.


Devan, Sarcasm Expert (CuriousCat) | 9 comments Well the actress who played her has been acting in good movies for a long time now. And the sister did get pregnat it was at the very very end.


message 48: by ♥Jenny♥ (last edited Apr 04, 2010 09:34PM) (new)

♥Jenny♥ Hmm, I didn't notice. 'Tis a shame that Susie's neice/nephew will never meet her, but she'll know everything about her, all thanks (extra scarcasm) to Mr. H.


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

I loved the first half of the book. I did not know why the second half just seemed so long and drawn out. Now it makes more sense to me if she left the book halfway. I have to say that as much as I liked the first half that is how much the rest of the book lost my attention.


message 50: by Peridot (new)

Peridot | 16 comments Horrific!


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