If I have trouble starting a book review, I normally just write down a list of thoughts and phrases that cross my mind while thinking back on what I've just read. For The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold, it was more a list of words: Brutal. Sad. Uplifting. Family. Loss. Heaven. Rebirth.
This book is so many things, but what stands out the most to me is its originality. This is the story of Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old girl who is raped and murdered by one of her neighbors in the 1970s. Susie narrates from heaven the story of her murder, her family and friends trying to cope with their loss, and her own journey through the afterlife. At the same time tragic, disturbing, and beautiful, Sebold creates an idea of what happens to those we've lost in an original voice.
I really enjoyed this novel. While it's not something I would normally pick up due to its subject matter, I'm glad I did. I actually had this on my To Be Read list before I knew about the movie, but the trailer I saw made me want to pick it up that much faster. Now, after having read it, I think they're going to need to change some major aspects of the book to make it a good movie. This is because there's little action in the second half of the book. Most of the cliff-hanger/page-turning aspects are in the first half. But even after most of the action is gone, you care about the characters enough that finishing the second half is easy. I wanted to know if the family could ever heal from such a tragic loss, and I wanted to know if Susie would get her wish.
4 out of 5 stars. Not my favorite book of the year, but definitely one worth reading.