The Lovely Bones Book Summary - The Lovely Bones Book explained in key points

The Lovely Bones summary

Alice Sebold

Brief summary

The Lovely Bones is a haunting novel by Alice Sebold that tells the story of a young girl who is brutally murdered and watches over her family and killer from her own heaven.

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    The Lovely Bones
    Summary of key ideas

    The Unseen World

    Our journey in The Lovely Bones starts with the tragic story of Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old girl who is murdered in a cornfield by her neighbor, George Harvey. Having passed, Susie finds herself in her personal version of heaven, an intermediary realm between Earth and the divine. From here, she watches as the world, filled with people she loves, progresses without her.

    Susie sees her family disintegrate in the wake of her death. Her father, Jack, becomes obsessed with finding her killer, almost breaking his relationship with his wife Abigail. Susie’s sister Lindsey takes on the quest for justice while navigating teenage angst on her own. And her youngest brother Buckley, attempts to understand the concept of death.

    The Struggle of Moving On

    Susie’s heaven is a reflection of her desires and dreams, but also a place of agony as she yearns for the life she should have had. Her yearning is so strong that she communicates with earth through her classmate, Ruth Connors, the town outcast who has a deep spiritual connection to the dead. Ruth becomes the bridge between Susie and the world, serving as a catalyst for Susie’s journey of acceptance.

    As Susie continues to watch her family, she observes them struggling to move on. Jack’s relentless pursuit to bring George to justice almost costs him his life. Lindsey, on the other hand, finds closure in breaking into George’s house, discovering incriminating evidence. This act gives her the strength to move on, eventually finding love and starting her own family.

    Justice and Redemption

    Despite the tragedy, The Lovely Bones gives us a tale of redemption. Abigail, wracked with guilt over her infidelity and inability to grieve openly, leaves the family. Yet, she returns years later to reconcile with Jack. Lindsey blossoms into adulthood, taking the mature step of perhaps forgiving her sister's murderer. The story even grants Susie a brief return to Earth, made possible through Ruth's unique connection.

    George, on the other hand, gets an unexpected end. The justice system fails to catch him, but fate does not. When a chunk of icicle falls, it drives him into a ravine, ending his life. This bit of poetic justice brings closure, at least in part, to Susie and those left behind.

    A Timeless Reminder

    As the story concludes, we see time moving forward. Buckley grows up, Abigail and Jack reconcile, and Susie comes to peace with her un-lived life. She is finally able to let go, leaving her version of heaven and moving on to a broader, more peaceful afterlife. It's a moment of profound acceptance and surrender to what is and what can't be changed.

    In essence, The Lovely Bones presents a bittersweet but hopeful narrative of life after death – not only for those who've passed but also for those left behind. It reminds us of the indomitable human spirit, the power of love, and the intricate balance between forgiving and forgetting.

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    What is The Lovely Bones about?

    The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is a haunting and deeply moving novel that explores the aftermath of a young girl's brutal murder. Narrated by the girl herself from her own personal heaven, the book delves into themes of grief, healing, and the power of love and forgiveness. It is a beautifully written story that will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

    Who should read The Lovely Bones?

    • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking and emotionally intense stories
    • People who are interested in exploring themes of grief, healing, and the afterlife
    • Those who appreciate a unique perspective on overcoming trauma and finding strength

    About the Author

    Alice Sebold is an American author who is best known for her novel, "The Lovely Bones." She has received critical acclaim for her captivating storytelling and ability to tackle difficult subjects with sensitivity and depth. Sebold's other notable works include "Lucky," a memoir about her own experience of surviving sexual assault, and "The Almost Moon." Her writing explores themes of trauma, resilience, and the complexities of human relationships.

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