Yeah, I still have insomnia and sometimes when I can’t sleep I watch the movie ‘The Lovely Bones.” I am watching it right now.
It’s funny. I loved the movie but hated the book and the reason for both feelings are almost identical. I will explain.
I hated Alice Sebold‘s book because I related so much to the father. I know, I know, my father is a dick who beat me mercilessly but I still loved him desperately. The father in the book works tirelessly to get the murderer of his child. He never succeeds but he never stops trying. That upset me terribly.
I loved Peter Jackson’s movie for similar reasons. Take a look at Saoirse Una Ronan in this film. Take a look at photos of me when I was that age. We could be the same person. And I find I relate to her (the character, not the person) in ways that make my heart hurt.
I dunno, maybe it’s a combination of an actress looking like me, some residual love I have for my abusive father and my intense fear of serial killers but this movie has it all.
So, you are still beautiful, Susie Salmon.
Sebold’s first novel after her memoir, Lucky is a small but far from minor miracle. Sebold has taken a grim, media-exploited subject and fashioned from it a story that is both tragic and full of light and grace. The novel begins swiftly. In the second sentence, Sebold’s narrator, Susie Salmon, announces, “I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” Susie is taking a shortcut through a cornfield when a neighbor lures her to his hideaway. The description of the crime is chilling, but never vulgar, and Sebold maintains this delicate balance between homely and horrid as she depicts the progress of grief for Susie’s family and friends. She captures the odd alliances forged and the relationships ruined: the shattered father who buries his sadness trying to gather evidence, the mother who escapes “her ruined heart, in merciful adultery.” At the same time, Sebold brings to life an entire suburban community, from the mortician’s son to the handsome biker dropout who quietly helps investigate Susie’s murder. Much as this novel is about “the lovely bones” growing around Susie’s absence, it is also full of suspense and written in lithe, resilient prose that by itself delights. Sebold’s most dazzling stroke, among many bold ones, is to narrate the story from Susie’s heaven (a place where wishing is having), providing the warmth of a first-person narration and the freedom of an omniscient one. It might be this that gives Sebold’s novel its special flavor, for in Susie’s every observation and memory of the smell of skunk or the touch of spider webs is the reminder that life is sweet and funny and surprising.Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Thanks for telling me about her other book — I have to admit that I was not really a fan of the book but the movie blew me away.