Since my good friend willikat made mention of it in her comment on my previous post, I thought I'd write about The Lovely Bones today. Willikat mentioned it was one of the books that gave her a powerful reaction - sadness. I couldn't agree more.
This is a haunting tale about a young girl, Susie Salmon, who is murdered, but her body is never found. She tells the story as she looks down from heaven, watching over her family. I enjoyed the image author Alice Sebold painted of what heaven may be like to a 14-year-old girl. In my heart of hearts, I imagine heaven is different for everyone - it's how you want it to be. Besides the fact that she was abducted and killed, the story was also sad on so many other levels: Susie's struggle with all the things she'll never experience (boyfriends, driving, high school, etc); watching her family grieve and her parents drift from each other; and wondering if her killer will ever be caught.
Not to spoil the story for others, but I have to tell of probably the most heartbreaking, but also heartwarming, part of the story for me. As a person who had a dog for 17 years of her childhood, I've often imagined what "doggie" heaven is like. Well, when Susie's childhood dog passes away, and she hears his chain jingling toward her in her heaven, and he jumps on her lap and licks her face... well, I have goose bumps and tears in my eyes right now. It really moved me. It still does.
Next year brings The Lovely Bones the movie, directed by Peter Jackson and starring Mark Walhberg and Rachel Weisz. I'm anxious to relive the story through the movie. I know not all movies live up to the books - and I'm sure this one won't either - but I have a good feeling about it.
I also read Sebold's first book - a memoir called Lucky. It tells of her own rape as a college student. If this type of violence is something you can stomach to read about - it's graphic - then I recommend the book. It was almost too much for me, but her process to get passed it and move on was interesting and worthwhile to read about. I'm still on the fence about The Almost Moon, her latest. The reviews haven't been stellar, and as I said in my Slam post, I hate to be disappointed. I read an interview with Sebold though, and she too knows how hard it is to live up to the popularity and praise that came with The Lovely Bones.