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28 November 2013

'The Lovely Bones' by Alice Sebold

In this book the author Alice Sebold gave me a workout

I picked up this book and put it down at least twice a year for ten years in different shops, airports and countries.  As a mother with a powerful imagination, I did not have enough courage to read this book.  Recently, I received it as a gift from .  I watched the movie a year or so ago with my daughter so I felt prepared.  I was not prepared... The movie is lovely, heaven is captured just right and the antagonist is also perfect but, as is often the case, the book is better.  I am so glad I read this book though.  Sometimes, if I read about something I fear, like the murder in this book, I do not stop fearing it but I gain depth and faith.  Faith in my own strength is hard enough but, at least for me, faith in other people's strength is even harder.

Heaven, murder, grief and time are themes often explored in literature.  Alice Sebold makes them all fresh.  Heaven in particular is such a believable and comforting place.  Comfort and love are surprising words to use about a book that starts out with such a horrible crime.  This crime is my worst nightmare.  While the narrator was a dead 14 year old girl, as a reader I felt both the suffering of the parents and of the child.  Like I said, my imagination can be quite strong and even insert appropriate smells; in this book the author gave me a workout.  My imagination was not stressed or stretched to the point of disbelief.  Quite the contrary.  I felt that I lived all these confused, unexpected emotions.  Heaven itself was a comfort to my senses and not just to the narrator.  My heaven includes youth, health, mountains, open spaces and my favorite flowers and scents.  Pets are allowed, company when I want it and vast, wonderful, magical libraries.  I bet I missed a few things but this feels right for now.

Life does go on, through grief, horror, violence or even those bullies in high school.  I do not think forgiveness is necessary to move on.  I think the effort to forgive focuses too much on the perpetrator of the offense.  It is better to look to your own strength and towards those you love, who often love you too.  Forgive if you want but always move on.

Alice Sebold 
ISBN: 9781447202653 

1 comment :

  1. Great blog Miriam. Lots of very interesting books.