The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold | Teen Ink

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

March 28, 2010
By Elizabeth Wilkens BRONZE, Canfield, Ohio
Elizabeth Wilkens BRONZE, Canfield, Ohio
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is a novel that can be enjoyed by all adults. The story is told through a fourteen year old young girl named Susie Salmon who is brutally raped and killed by a shady, mysterious neighbor. Sebold illustrates how the family of this young girl deals with their pain, each in a different way. It shows how one’s death can bring loved ones together and see life in a new way. Sebold does a phenomenal job portraying how a tragedy can bring out the best or worst in people. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is an intriguing book one should take his or her time to read.

The plot of this novel gives a good representation of how life can sometimes be scary and unfair. When a fourteen-year-old girl is murdered and cheated out of a long and happy life, it makes the reader think twice about taking his or her life for granted. Often times an individual will go through the motions of life without thinking twice. Usually it is until a tragedy comes along that makes one rethink life and how he or she may not be living to his or her full potential. The story line of The Lovely Bones is an example of that extremity. A sad story such as this makes one realize life could often be worse than he or she makes it out to be. The plot also demonstrates the sad truth that there are cruel people in the world. For this reason, this novel should be read by females who are soon going to be away from home and in a new environment. By reading The Lovely Bones one may become more aware of his or her surroundings. It will make one realize everyone he or she comes into contact with cannot be easily trusted. By reading this book, one will realize he or she always needs to be aware of his or her surroundings and make everyday count.

The point of view that this novel is told through generates a more interesting story. It is told in first-person through the eyes of Susie Salmon. Telling the story through Susie’s eyes, Sebold is able to share how each individual is affected after the death of Susie. After she is killed, she arrives in “her heaven” and is able to look down on everyone on earth. With this ability, the reader is able to follow the life of her family, friends, and her murderer—Mr. Harvey—which gives wonderful insight into the story. Susie states, “These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections—sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent—that happened after I was gone. And I began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it” (page 320). This quote demonstrates that Susie is able to follow her family and their growth as a result of her death. The point of view this novel is given creates a more affective meaning for the reader.

An element that allows the reader to receive a more effective message is the setting. This book is set in a small hometown that lacks diversity and has very low crime. Susie says, “In newspaper photos of missing girls from the seventies, most looked like me: white girls with mousy brown hair. This was before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons or in the daily mail. It was still back when people believed things like that didn’t happen” (page 1). This shows that individuals often feel comfortable in their surroundings and overlook the fact that bad things can happen. By creating a setting that seems so safe and harmless one minute, and then dangerous and treacherous the next, Sebold is capable of creating a more moving lesson to her readers.

The Lovely Bones teaches the reader many good and bad things about life. It successfully tells a story with happy and sad aspects while teaching the reader many valuable lessons. This, in part with its entertainment value, makes it worth every young adult’s time to pick up. Through the many ups and downs it contains, both a female and male audience can enjoy reading this memorable novel.

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