No, I have not seen the movie.
The Lovely Bones is one of those books that I see all the time in bookstores. I hear about it from others, contemplate about buying it, but finding very little motivation to read it, I eventually leave the store without it. If Chris didn’t wake up late everyday we were in London (yes, dear, 9:30 to 10 am is *late*) and I found myself with three hours to kill in the morning before we can start getting ready to leave to wherever we’re going, I wouldn’t even think of reading books during the brief holiday.
So WHSmith gave me The Lovely Bones. And Sebold taught me that not every story that starts with rape, pedophilia, and a gruesome murder would end in tragedy. Don’t get me wrong, the book is rich with sadness and confusion caused by the death of the protagonist, a 14-year-old girl named Susie Salmon (like the fish, she says). But there’s always something good to counter the bad and the characters struggle to find that silver lining even when at they think they’ve given up. Susie herself finds happiness and contentment in her version of heaven, which Sebold illustrates perfectly with words. I almost envied Susie… but I really don’t want to go the way she did.
The book’s conclusion seems more like a beginning than an end. It would be easy for Sebold to submit to kitschy sentimentality but she manages to pull it off without any of the usual cliches. Like a Vermeer painting, The Lovely Bones is clean and straightforward but its complexity and unusual beauty lies underneath the neatness of the narrative.
Read it? DEFINITELY!
Watch the movie? Maybe.