I only recently started reading the mystery genre – and the Lovely Bones was one of the biggest books of the 2000s, let alone in the mystery space. I never saw the movie, and before reading this I had no real idea what the book was about. I went into it with fairly high expectations due to its popularity. Unfortunately, this one really fell short for me.
The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.
The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.