Sophie’s Scoop on Books: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Until recently, I never found time to read books cover-to-cover after I graduated from college. However, my current job requires me to travel around the world, so I now have pockets of time to kill while I’m in the clouds. My best friend, Sophie, on the other hand, is a hardcore book junkie, averaging a book a week! When I began my hunt for books to read, I naturally turned to Sophie; since she has a wealth of book knowledge. So when I first came up with the idea to start this blog, I thought it would be perfect if Sophie could be a “Guest Blogger” and write book reviews for the books she’s read, so that I, and now you, could have a virtual list of books with accompanying reviews.  And without further ado, I introduce to you a new installment called Sophie’s Scoop on Books!

The Short and Sweet (From the publisher)

The Lovely BonesWhen we first meet Susie Salmon, she is already in heaven. When she looks down from this strange new place, she tells us, in the fresh and spirited voice of a now fourteen year old girl, a tale that is haunting and full of hope.

Following her death, Susie watches life continue without her from above. Her school friends are trading rumors about her disappearance, her family holding out hope that she’ll be found, and her killer is trying to cover his tracks. As months pass without leads, Susie sees her parents’ marriage being contorted by loss, her sister hardening herself in an effort to stay strong, and little brother trying to grasp the meaning of the word gone.

As she explores heaven, it looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets. There are counselors to help newcomers adjust and friends to room with. Whatever she wants appears before she thinks of it-except the thing she wants most: to be back with the people she loved on earth.

With compassion, longing, and a growing understanding, Susie sees her loved ones pass through grief and begin to mend. Her father embarks on a quest that is very risky to ensnare her killer. Her sister takes undertakes a feat of remarkable daring. And the boy Susie cared for moves on, only to find himself in the middle of a miraculous event.

    Two years ago in the summertime I was hunting for a quick and easy read. Curious about what my friends had read I perused the wereads app on fb and discovered The Lovely Bones. To be honest, the two year lag between reading and reviewing the book leaves me grasping for specifics, especially since my memory takes after that of a goldfish. What I DO recall is the pain of one afternoon spent feverously reading on my bedroom floor until my arms, back, and legs cramped and ached. By sunset I was at once satiated with completing the novel in one sitting… and at the same time filled with a whole cup of sorry because Daniel (guy I’m married to) was away on a business trip.

    Anyhoos here is where I shall squeeze in this awkward paragraph. I consider myself more a professional reader versus book reviewer so if you’re conclusion leads to “this person has no idea how to write a book review,” you are absolutely on point. Fortunately for you, because of my love for Sandy, her crafty talents, her site, and being honored that she asked me to contribute I will leave my comfort zone behind. That being said .. please don’t take my poor excuse of writing to lead you away from her awesome site (Yes Daniel I’m talking to you). So sit tight, shut your ears, close your mouth, and open your eyes because… here goes my first book spiel!

    This novel is about a murdered young girl’s perspective on life after death as she continues to watch over her family. This book is a wonderfully disturbing ghost story/murder mystery. The author’s take on the aftermath of a rape and murder from the victim’s point of view as well as her family and murderer keeps your attention engrossed in the novel. While researching this book later for the review, I discovered that Alice Sebold’s first book was about her experience of being raped in college. Knowing this makes her description of the rape/murder in The Lovely Bones realistically haunting. The fam includes dead girl, alcoholic wise cracking grandma (she tells it like it is), murder obsessed father and daughter tag team attempting to play detective/police, mother who takes out her grief unfaithfully (o the wonders which grief manifests into), and son who gets lost amongst the trauma. The dead girl’s heaven is no walk in the clouds but rather a limbo of sorts which I found interesting. The circumstances surrounding the story are something that we may all fear happening to us, friends, and family: how easily a family can splinter and light aflame. It made me take a second look at my neighbors and piqued some curiosity about the goings-on in their homes. The reading itself was entertaining and I wonder how the movie will compare to this book… my recommendation is always read first!

    Side Effect: Bone chilling. Make sure your cuddle buddy is present during and after. Also beware of sleep deprivation.

    (3 out of 3 scoops)

This post is quite timely since The Lovely Bones movie, directed by Peter Jackson, was just released on January 15, 2010.  If anyone has read the book and seen the movie, let us know how they stack up against each other!


  1. Roxanna
    February 2, 2010 / 9:01 am

    Great review! I don’t normally like to read violent/scary stuff (Harry Potter is pretty much as scary as it gets for me), so maybe this will encourage me to check it out. It’s good to know that you couldn’t put it down! Ha!

  2. Dan
    February 2, 2010 / 9:22 am

    Cuddle Buddies have to be fat so the trembling is absorbed. Lucky for Sophie, eh?

  3. Theresa
    February 2, 2010 / 9:31 am

    Well written Sophie! You think you’re memory is bad? I read this book a few years back and saw the movie previews and thought to myself, “there wasn’t a son in the family!” I guess I lost him amongst the trauma as well – poor thing. Can’t wait for your next book review, I need some good suggestions!

  4. February 2, 2010 / 11:34 am

    Great review Sophie! Gonna have to put this one on my “to read” list. Sandy, you are so lucky to have a job that REQUIRES you to travel the world!!

  5. February 2, 2010 / 1:50 pm

    Wow! What an awesome review! I actually like book reviews where the focus is more on how the person felt about the book rather than just a plain recap of the story. Great job Sophie! Can’t wait to read the next one!

  6. sheila
    February 2, 2010 / 10:27 pm

    i remember asking sophie for a recomm several months ago and saw this book on her fb. while i rarely get time to read books anymore, i take what i can get, and i remember finishing this one over a weekend and thinking: “sophie’s my own – i can always go to her for a recomm when i need a suggestion” =D

  7. Eafong
    February 3, 2010 / 1:28 pm

    Nice! Very interesting 🙂 Adding the book to my reading list…can’t wait for the next one!

  8. Julie
    February 3, 2010 / 3:34 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this book. It’s one I can’t put down – and can’t read enough times. I’m worried that the movie won’t live up to the book…. I’m not sure I want to see it 🙂

  9. Dustin
    February 3, 2010 / 9:18 pm

    Love the review! I joined a bookclub to help myself become an “avid” reader and I wish all book reviews were written this way. So many are just a boring recap where I have no idea how it made the reviewer “feel”. This review made me excited. Keep the good stuff coming!!

  10. Roanna
    February 3, 2010 / 10:16 pm

    I really want to read this book… not sure when i’ll around to it but i will at some point 🙂 my girlfriend said she saw the movie and that it was good, but the book was better!!

    ps – anyone who goes to see the movie is advised to bring tissues — sandy, this means you should probably bring a whole box!

  11. steph
    February 4, 2010 / 8:37 pm

    ooh i will have to check this out now!

  12. Jane & Kentaro
    February 5, 2010 / 12:00 am

    I love the icon for Sophie’s Scoops! Looks just like her when she is reading! 🙂 I also really like the 3 out of 3 scoops rating thing! How cute! Ties everything together!
    So you know I never read, so it’ll be interesting to see what kinds of ratings you give in the future. Also I would like some pros and cons about the books as well.

    Sandy, your blog is fabulous. Ken says that Bokeh is pronounced boh-ke. Boh like the beginning of bohemian and Ke like the beginning of ketchup. He says that his mom always uses it to describe him when he is out of it. haha

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