Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Lovely Bones- Life after Death

Well that sounded bit weird, life after death?! But Susie Salmon the protagonist in the book The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold has a flicker of life within her. She was raped and murdered at the tender age of fourteen by her neighbor George Harvey. I haven’t spoiled the story for you as from the beginning Susie tells us about her killer lurking everyday on the earth so close to her family.

Even after death she wants to share her story because even in the heaven sharing lessens her pain. She quotes, “Each time I told my story, I lost a bit, the smallest drop of pain. It was that day that I knew I wanted to tell the story of my family. Because horror on Earth is real and it is every day. It is like a flower or like the sun; it cannot be contained.” 

There are many Susie around us. Some coming out to talk about the horrendous act and some silently die each day but still living. There are more than 1000 rape cases reported in a year in India. The numbers might be more than this which are hidden in the dark corners. Who is at fault? This question distresses me. Is the upbringing at fault? Is the illiteracy a cause? But there are sexual assaults reported in high profile, educated crowd too. Or is it the law? Or should we blame on the hormones?

I am not being a feminist because sexual assault is not limited to females.
the lovely bones book
Coming back to the book, the story narrates how the death of a daughter, a sister, a friend, a lover has impact on the every single life attached to her. It is so difficult for Susie’s parents (Jack and Abigail Salmon) to accept their loving daughter is brutally murdered. A father’s instinct is so strong that he knew who killed his angel. A mother who knew her daughter is no more but couldn’t come to the term as no one except Len Fenerman, the detective talks about his thoughts and 'who killed Susie?' It is the first time Abigail hears from someone that her daughter has 'died'. 

The death of Susie creates the turmoil in Jack and Abigail relationship. ‘Escaping’ from the family is the only option left with Abigail. Lindsey and Buckley, the sister and brother are wonderful characters with maturity at young age.

The characters of Ruth and Ray Singh (her friends) are commendable. It is delightful reading their part in the story.

Though the book has a touch of fantasy in it, the story is close to reality. There is no twist and turn or any suspense but goes along the course as life does. There are few chapters I couldn’t agree with but then who has seen life after death? Susie watches over her family and how their life shapes with absence of her.

There is only one instance in the book where ‘The Lovely Bones’ is mentioned. “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. The events that my death wrought were merely the bones of a body that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous body had been my life.” 

The book deserves to be read. 


  1. yeah such a good book. Really powerful. I liked how the after life was depicted too.