The Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold
The Lovely Bones Cover

The Lovely Bones


Susie, a fourteen year old girl is raped and murdered by a serial killer. She observes what happens afterwards from heaven.

The ultimate, I suppose, in omnipotent narrators. It starts off as a sort of detective novel. Not a whodunit because we know that from the start but will he be found out, will he kill again. Everything is screwed up by the murder of course but we get the sense that everything will be all right in the end. Heaven is a wonderful place after all, probably designed by Mich Albom so what's not to like and if we die horribly then we just end up there.

But the serial killer escapes and the book becomes something else with Susie descending from heaven into another girl's body so she can lose her virginity (no sex in this heaven, it might get made into a Hallmark movie). And then to wrap up things quickly, because we don't want a overlong book, she bumps off her murderer with a strategically jostled icicle. And then to justify the Hollywood movie adaptation everybody lives happily ever after.

I couldn't help thinking of a BBC series with David Tennant of Doctor Who fame. Called Broadchurch, it concerned the investigation of the murder of a child and how this ripped apart the lives of everyone concerned. Compared to that series this book seems slick, commercial and ultimately very, very shallow.