The Lovely Bones - A Review

I've found a method for choosing/reading books, and as a somewhat anti method person, I consider it a big step. Whenever someone tells me about a book, I read a review online, or see something mentioned somewhere that piques my interest, I go to my library website (which is a permanent tab on my browser) and put in a request for it. This way I can stop at my tiny local branch (that seemingly only carries a couple of old copies of better homes and gardens, and maybe a few cookbooks), and pick up a gigantic stack of books I didn't have to pay for (I love you library system, despite your old, cranky computers). I've had to start taking an empty cardboard box in with me, because if I let each kid pick five books, on top of the ten books I have to pick up...well that begins to reach unmanageable, even for a book bag.

At home, I peruse all the books, reading the back cover, or the flaps, taste-testing the first few pages. I obviously don't have the time to read all ten books in three weeks, some will be read, some will be returned unread, and there is no rhyme or reason to which ones I decide to succumb to. It's whatever grabs me first. Sometimes, if it's an author I really love, or a book I really really want to read, then I'll press through and read it even if I don't like it (ie. The Graveyard Book currently). But most of the time the book has about five pages to grab my toddler sized attention span before I put it down and move on. Sad, but true.

The Lovely Bones was just such a book. I have no idea why it was on my list, but I vaguely remember reading a review about it somewhere, as well as seeing all the previews on TV for the movie. It was ages ago because I was number 58 of 120 holds, and it finally got around to being my turn. I didn't want to read it. I knew it was written from the perspective of a girl who was brutally murdered and from heaven is watching her family deal with the aftermath. Not my kind of book. But I read the first page...and then the next one...and the next one, till my eye liner was giving me raccoon eyes and I was having a hard time seeing through the tears. The writing was just so achingly beautiful I couldn't put it down. The book takes death by the horns so to speak. Takes your worst fears, and makes you look at them, but not in a way the horror genre does. I hate horror movies, and don't even get me started on the books, but this book is not horror it isn't scary, and even though it's sad, it's not manipulatively so. It is subtle, beautiful and hauntingly hopeful.

Because of its very non PG material, and obviously iffy theology, I can't recommend it without reservations, but I'm glad I have my "Library Method", because without it, I would never have even picked up The Lovely Bones.

2 sprinkles of fairy dust:

I absolutely LOVED this book. Read it through in about two days, crying the entire time. Not sure I want to see the film, though. I can't imagine how they could portray the "heaven" described in the book without making it totally cheesy. Probably will skip it. I SHOULD have skipped the film for The Time Traveler's Wife, too. Talk about taking a brilliant book and adapting for film in a most disappointing fashion!

yay! glad you reviewed this. one of my coworkers said it was good, but i didn't know of anyone else who'd actually READ the book. i'll add it to me "to read" list . . . though i'm just as rhyme-and-reasonless as you when it comes to my reading choice order. heh.

i'd also like to read alice sebold's bio-- you probably know she herself was raped and (i think?) beaten, but obviously not murdered. be interesting to find out her own experience.