The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

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Mixed feelings throughout. I’m probably in the minority who didn’t like it as much as this novel was paved out to be. That’s why I’m not planning on watching the movie. Once was more than enough. The only reason I stuck around was because I wanted to see if the monster who did the crime was caught or not. I don’t know whether it was the writing style or because of the need to find out the answer that had allowed me to hang onto until the end, but it indeed took a lot of patient to do so. In some ways, the story paved on a very vivid picture of what was going on. A family was torn apart by what happened. All struggled to cope. Some healed. Some didn’t. And some just ran out on what they supposedly called ‘family’ once upon a time.

Maybe because the story covered all parts of the family and how it affected them after Susie was killed that made it real. YET it made me even more frustrated than ever. I’m going to be judgmental here so watch out. The more I read, the more I hated the mother for abandoning them and escaping to her own world. I do understand she suffered and wanted to escape from such cruelty, not wanting to admit that her life was falling apart. But what I felt from reading it was that she was only able to handle the many joyous days that came, regardless of how unexpected her married life was. The presence of her children had forced her to admit her role as a mother, abandoning her hope of pursuing her education afterward, but she was willing to accept as long as her family was happy and everything was perfect. But suddenly when Susie died and it became real and/or confirmed that there was no hope, she totally collapsed and even went to the point of wanting to get out. It was all normal since the world seemed to be crashing down on her. Yet I felt she wanted the perfect world too much that IF happiness wasn’t present, she was out. She bailed out just like that, leaving Lindsey to fend for her father and brother. The father was rash in his ways in confronting Harvey or went to the extent of stalking the man, but I felt like he went to that point of insanity (or almost as it seemed) because he loved his daughter. He did a lot of things that others would never understand because he wanted to know the answer. Until the criminal was caught, he did not have closure—or not properly. I felt so much anger rising when every time he was in trouble or was heard doing something rash, his wife would go with the so-called ‘detective’ and escaped, leaving her husband to fend alone (even when he was unconscious). It was like there was no commitment or a 50/50 thing going on with the support OR anything. It was like she expected to be taken care of and being comforted; but when he broke down and did crazy things (or at least through crazy means), she did not care to acknowledge him, comfort him, stand by his side through thick and thin. So she was humiliated of his actions (or so it seemed), but so was their daughter, Lindsey, who had to endure so much at school. Everyone was suffering, not just herself, so why was she acting like they were torturing her with it? I felt the whole story with seeing how she had suffered from loneliness in the past among other things was just a cover-up and an excuse made up for her current actions. It was almost encouraging or sending a message out there that it was all right to be that way when the earth fall down on you.

What made me even madder at the mother was when reading the part where Buckley turned 7 and he came home one day with a paper—a story that he wrote—and his father pinned it on the fridge. Though brief, it was to the point. It was emphasizing of Buckley’s suffering though he tried to smile or pretended that he had fun. He was only a kid, but he wanted to let on to his father and sister that he was all right. He was trying to be brave just for the sake of them because he truly loved them. I couldn’t help but cry for him. It was like he was a kid but could do it, but why couldn’t his mother (who ran out on them AND made the kid’s childhood even more heart-breaking) do such a thing? The mother made me think even more of how she was used to being protected. Perhaps it might be better in the long run if she just ended it like that for everyone. But it was just so sad for the kids at that moment, especially Buckley.

I honestly understand that she needed a break from all the suffering, the hectic moments, and the turmoils within her life. She should definitely take a trip to relieve herself. YET I found it truly disturbing with the whole cheating and lying, etc.

Grandma Lynn—though bizarre in her own ways (as described or led on at times), I could actually sympathize with. She knew that she had no right to judge her daughter since she had somewhat abandoned her daughter most of the time when she and her husband had fought endlessly when the husband was still alive. I guess that was why she was trying to make up for her past when offering to come over and stay with them to take care of Lindsey and Buckley, managing things around the house. In a way, maybe she was the victim too so she felt for Jack (her son-in-law).

Now, the police—though I could never blame them fully since Harvey was so good at his game, so pretentious YET so trusting to the moment that he left. YET I could not forgive them totally for being so careless. Though Jack Salmon was behaving rashly (or what it seemed), but after all, he was Harvey’s neighbor. Wouldn’t he know if something was wrong? Not taking the tip and following it thoroughly was soooo wrong. So the other guy offered some pitiful story, and the suspicion was off him? They gave Ray a pretty rough time when they suspected him. (Just because he was the weird kid down the block?) AND Len will never have my sympathy regardless of what he’s doing OR trying hard to find Harvey. He was too “busy” when Lindsey found the drawing that he didn’t have time to go investigate it. SO it was a missed chance and Harvey escaped just like that. BUT I doubt IF he could take any hint OR two if he was present that afternoon to ask Harvey himself or search the house himself. He would’ve been too engrossed in “someone else” to care about this stuff. He was treating this like a ‘job’ and NOT something he believed in SO I never feel like he tried hard enough. So what IF he felt guilty because he was the one responsible for Harvey’s disappearance! Nothing could be done and it’s on his head with all the upcoming chosen victims.

If it wasn’t for Lindsey’s bravery in taking the risk and sneaking into Harvey’s house, determined to find just one piece of evidence, there would’ve never been a clear answer OR some sense of suspicions upon Harvey. SO no, I couldn’t credit the police OR Len for anything. (Lindsey could’ve died!) AND okay, I should credit the detective who was working overtime in Delaware and putting pieces together–unlike someone.

It’s easy for me to be biased when I could see the pieces right in front of me BUT the characters in the story don’t, BUT I just feel so frustrated at how careless people are. And how sad but true that our society likes to give those ‘pretentious’ ones such a break. Put up a presentable front and you’re off the hook. What else? Hal, who was known as the drop out of the block, so he was considered forgettable, but he helped the Salmon family so much throughout the years. Hal even went to the extreme of using his network of bikers to track down Harvey. The neighborhood, regardless of how odd they were at times, shown me they were quite united with Susie’s memorial. Regardless of how nosy they could be at times, but it showed they cared more than anything. Just a little action and it showed they cared. (They could sympathize with the Salmon family because they knew it could be anyone out there, not just Susie, what if it had been one of the other kids?) It was a mutual understanding that the Salmon had lost a most precious someone, so they’d done their best to show their comfort in such times.

As the plot moved along, I was getting even more impatient and frustrated by many people, including Susie (who was supposedly dead). What made me even madder was how she was given a chance to be in Ruth’s body but she ‘used’ Ruth’s body just like that AND did not care for the violation of using Ruth’s body. IF anything like that happens, I’m sure none of us would ever want to go through with something so important and found out afterward our bodies have been destroyed just because someone invaded us AND took our chance away to experience on our own. I don’t care IF I lost the point with how it was trying to emphasize Susie’s feeling and loneliness and felt she had to jump at the chance. I felt it was just so unfair and wrong to Ruth in every sense. AND it did not matter if it was Ruth wanting it or liking Ray OR NOT, I think Ruth has the right to decide for herself what she wanted in life or how she would approach it, NOT having someone rob her of the decision. It was pathetic to make up an excuse. (Yeah, Susie was grabbing at the chance and it was too sudden to think clearly BUT it was dumb to use Ruth like that. What if it wasn’t Ruth’s body that she went into but her sister’s? What then?)

The ending–though I thought meaningful to some extent with the forgiveness and how everyone was able to move on, I felt a fakeness toward it. It was only a cover-up for the times each one hurt the others–one way or another. Yes, they were trying hard to move on, but it felt too fake to me. Also, the whole thing with Harvey meeting with his fate was priceless, to say the least. YET it wasn’t fully satisfying. I guess it’s because I’m more used to straight away mystery than everything is thrown into the same package that I didn’t enjoy it as much. But I must give the author credit for some interesting thoughts put forth with the idea of Heaven.

Once again, you’ll have to read the book and find out for yourself, obviously. I think it was just me that I didn’t really enjoy the book like I thought I would. Also, a reminder to myself to stop following trends when people recommend it left and right.

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