Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Lovely Bones

"My name is Salmon, like the fish. First name Susie." So begins The Lovely Bones. Released in 2002, I had been hesitant to read it, especially after my children were born. All the reviews I had read were positive, but when I saw " fourteen year old girl" and "murdered" I decided against it. I just cannot stomach books about children dying, especially murdered. But people kept telling me I needed to read it and after seeing the preview for the movie, I decided I definitely needed to read it before the movie came out and I am glad I did. First of all, the murder is not the central theme of the story. There is an element of thriller in it, but ultimately this story is about relationships and how one incident can alter them forever. Susie's murder is the catalyst; the real story is how her murder affects the lives of those around her. Her mother, who gave up her own dreams when she became pregnant with Susie. Her father, who struggled with the unbearable grief of losing his first born and giving enough of himself to his surviving children. Her sister, who not only had to fight against the stigma of being the sister of "the murdered girl" but also deal with the loss of her best friend. Her brother, who at four did not fully understand what was happening, but whose life was forever altered by the affect Susie's death had on those around him.
I think the scenes that affected me most were those involving Lindsey, Susie's sister. That bond they had, that was irrevocably broken, heartwrenching. The trailer for the movie intrigued me, but it also did not touch on what the theme of the story is--healing. The old adage that time heals all wounds is cliched but true. Her death pulls them apart, but makes the characters realize what they truly lost. In this, Susie is simply the medium.