The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold
reviewed by Ruolin Li
This is a special book where the main character, Susie Salmon, is murdered by her neighbor, George Harvey. Like Susie said, “You don’t notice the dead leaving when they really choose to leave you.” After she was murdered, she stayed with her family by watching them through her heaven. Susie Salmon was a fourteen-year-old girl who was raped and killed by her strange neighbor. And through the process of being with her family, she realized many things that she had never imagined before. At the end of the novel, Susie decided to leave after she had been dead for 9 years. She recognized families like bones: “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 Salmon family lost Susie, but one day a new bone will grow and bring the whole family together. That is life.
When I read this book, my heart was filled with feelings of joy and relaxation. If I had looked at these events that happened in Susie’s life, I would have thought, “Poor Susie!” However, I did not because she had a loving and indivisible family. Susie was an unfortunate girl, but she also was a fortunate girl. Her bad luck brought her negative memories and death, but let her know how her families loved her. That is amazing, because Alice Sebold wrote many paragraphs about this complex relationship between Susie and her family. Susie’s young sister, Lindsey, gave me deep sadness. She loves her sister so much and the light in Susie’s dark encounter is the love between her families.
Susie’s family’s reaction to her death also taught me a lot. Susie made me remember my grandmother. When my grandmother died, I was 9 years old. In that moment, I could not understand what was death. I knew she would never criticize me again. I felt happy when I heard that she left me, but when I realized she would not come back, I started to cry. That was my reaction to my grandmother’s death. At first I felt sad, but when I grew up, other things such as homework and problems around me made me forget my sadness. I love my grandma like Lindsey loves Susie. Susie’s death was the shadow for her families, but they will have one day to renew.
Finally, Lindsey brought her family good news: she was pregnant. A new life would be arriving to Susie’s family to make everyone happy. That is what Susie wants to see, so she felt happy and left to cross the line between her heaven and the next life. That is her story.