The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I will preface this review by saying I have not seen the movie of the same name. The trailer looked too scary.

This is a lovely and interesting novel. I especially liked it because it is told in a young girl’s voice. Her thoughts and concerns seemed to ring true for that age group. There are some scary parts and some more mature ideas presented (such as the scene of her rape and murder and the story of her mother’s affair and desertion of the family). I would recommend this book to girls at the upper end of the tweens, perhaps 12 or 13 and up. I didn’t recommend it for boys on the list as it is a more introspective, thinking kind of book rather than an adventure. Not to be sexist or anything, but I am not sure that a majority of boys would find it an interesting read. I also liked Seybold’s portrayals of the Singh family and her character Ruth, a shy character who sees where people have been murdered and journals about them.

The end of the book was a surprise to me in several ways. I won’t give away where the reference to The Lovely Bones comes in, but it was very different from what I thought throughout the book that it would be. There is also a very interesting, well done scene near the end that reminded me of the movie “Ghost” with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. It is a movie I have watched a number of times and enjoy. Again, a more mature tween would enjoy the movie more. There are some very scary scenes (scary to me, anyway).

The portrayal of heaven is interesting as well. If a parent were reading the book along with their tween, this might make for an interesting conversation. What would they imagine heaven to be like, if they believed that such a thing existed? Do they think that people who have died before us could possibly somehow hang around or maybe communicate with us? In the book it refers to the experience of a dying person seeing a figure standing at the foot of their bed. Both my mother and I had this experience just before my dad died, but seen from different angles from different rooms. Decades later, the thought still makes the hairs stand up on my arms. What was that? The possibilities make for interesting conversation.

ISBN 0-316-66634-3, 328 pages. This novel was a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club.


About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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