The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
24th May 2010
Hollywood director Peter Jackson has developed a bit of a pattern of taking bestselling, slightly dark books, and adapting them for the big screen. After all, if it worked in the fiction charts, that success must transfer to Hollywood too, right? Apparently not.
His latest adaptation, The Lovely Bones, hit cinemas in January to mixed reviews. The novel by Alice Sebold sold over a million copies, and yet the movie adaptation fell short. Has Jackson finally bitten off more than he could chew?
The Lovely Bones tells the story of a teenage girl who is raped and murdered by her creepy neighbour. The majority of the story focuses on the girl, Susie, watching her family and friends from heaven as they carry on their lives after her death.
So we’re not looking at a nice little romcom of a book here. But Sebold tells the story with such beauty and attention to detail that you can’t fail to be gripped by the storyline. Her description of heaven manages to straddle the line between dreamy and schmaltzy. The murder mystery that drives the first half of the book is both upsetting and thought-provoking, and the eventual fallout for Susie’s family is heartbreaking. However, the real strength of this book lies in the determination of Susie’s father to find her killer, which borders on obsession at times. This obsession leads you to root for his character to discover the real truth, in the hope that it will allow the family to finally mourn.
Sebold also has a strong talent for building tension. As the reader has the advantage of knowing more than the characters, you spend a large part of the second section on the edge of your seat as they get closer and closer to the truth, whilst also endangering their own lives.
In conclusion, The Lovely Bones is a must-read for anyone who wants something more challenging than the usual chicklit selection. The friendships Susie builds in the afterlife add a bittersweet touch to a harrowing story, and it illustrates the rarely spoken about fallout after the death of a child.
You can buy it for the slightly strange price of £4.18, from Amazon.
Post by Emma Cossey