Quote of the Day

7.31.2008

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I hated it. Just loathed it. It carefully narrates the rape and murder of a little girl in such detail that I have deep suspicions about the author. I feel unclean after reading it. I'm not going to provide any links to it as you should NOT go find this book.

Here is a link to a more informative and more detailed review if you want to know more about the story. I always feel badly slamming a novel as I know how hard it is to write them. Nevertheless, it is an awful piece of work. To quote the reviewer linked above:
What makes the pointlessness of the novel so aggravating is the selection of subject matter: the rape and murder of a child (and the aftermath). I'm not suggesting that such subject matter should be off-limits for fiction, but I am suggesting that if an artist wants to go there, it'd better be worth the trip. In short, she'd better have something damned important to say that justifies (and indeed requires) the fictional portrayal of such horrors.
Sebold doesn't.

~Suzanne

9 comments:

Laura said...

I read it years ago (thankfully before I had a child) and thought it was unnecessary to go into such detail too. I read her other book too "Lucky" and it is about a rape too....

JC said...

I have this on my bookshelf to read, glad I got it for $3. It is going straight to the recycler. Thanks for the warning.

Luciana said...

thankyou for your sincerety. ..

cloudscome said...

I hated that book too and didn't finish it. I can't understand why it's gotten such press. It's one of the books the eight graders in my school read, which I REALLY can't understand.

cloudscome said...

The Kite Runner is another one with the rape of a child told over and over in detail. I couldn't finish it either and don't know why anyone would.

Jennifer said...

I actually enjoyed this book. Yes, the subject matter is disturbing, but I thought the perspective of the victim telling the story from heaven was interesting.

As far as questioning the author's character...

Yes, her other book is about a rape. Her own rape. It's autobiographical and though it's heartbreaking to read, it's very beautifully written.

The Kite Runner (since it was mentioned in comments) is one of the most heart-wrenching books I've read. Yes, a child is raped in that one. By some of his peers who are bullying him. It's one "scene" in the entire book. It's not told over and over. But that's not really what the book is about. It's about the culture. About the shame that's felt by a victim when such an act is committed. It's about life in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and it's about friendship's capacity to overcome terrible betrayal. To throw out a book based on one scene that's pivotal to set up the rest of the book is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, IMO.

But that's just me.

Kate said...

Found both Lovely Bones and Kiterunner...disturbing, to say the least. And, those are not the images I want rattling around in my head. (I had forgotten what both of these were about, which is a blessing!) Not my kinds of books.

I cannot believe 8th graders are reading this!! Are parents up in arms? What does the school board say? My 8th grader won't be reading it.

Maggie said...

I thought The Lovely Bones was wonderful. Yes, it's incredibly disturbing. But I thought the author's vision of heaven was intriguing. Most of all, it's a book about healing and how -- even though love can be shattered -- those ties are always there.

That being said, I would not allow an 8th grader to read that book.

Suzanne said...

Thx Cloudscome, I'll be taking KiteRunner OFF my list.

8th graders? YUCK! Maybe as a cautionary tale? but still . . .