About Me

My photo
Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Saturday, 28 July 2018

"The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.” So starts this story of how the repercussions of the murder on the family and stretching out into the community, the ripples spreading wider as year follows year. This is foreshadowed by the story of wild rabbits taking poisoned vegetables back to their burrows: “Then, inside the earth and so far away from the man or woman who had laced a garden with toxic bait, an entire family of rabbits would curl into themselves and die.” (p 22) Susie, up in Heaven, watches all of it: her murder and the disposal of her body, the attempts to catch the murderer, the murderers own attempts to control himself before he kills another girl, the destructive forces tearing at the marriage bond between her parents, how the children have to cope with sibling rivalry of the dead kind, and how her friends at school come to terms in their own lives with this tragedy.

It is a beautifully structured book. There are moments of joy and moments of terror. The murder itself is perfectly told and the chill that creeps up on one when the murderer subsequently sees Susie's sister made my hairs stand on end and my spine tingle and little drops of cold sweat blossom from my skin. Some characters are strong and some are weak; some are considerate and some foolish. She never pulls her punches. One of those moments was when Susie's mother acts a parent and is told by her young son, still a child: "Fuck you". This is a raw and honest chronicle of grief and healing.

Great lines:
  • Life is a perpetual yesterday for us.” (p 10)
  • The strange sad mortality of being a father. His life had given birth ... in that way the line he had begun seemed immortal to him, like a strong steel filament threading into the future, continuing past him no matter where he might fall off.” (p 48)
  • When people looked at Lindsey, even my father and mother, they saw me. Even Lindsey was not immune. She avoided mirrors.” (p 59)
  • The charcoal smudges of her eyes ... had given her a leering look that made every kid who saw it either strangely uncomfortable or quite happy, thank you.” (P 76)
  • I realized how subversive Ruth was then, not because she drew pictures of nude women ... but because she was more talented than her teachers. She was the quietest kind of rebel. Helpless, really.” (p 77)
  • Her eyes ... had gone from closed to open doorways - dark rooms where he wanted to travel firsthand.” (p 83)
  • It was a way, I now realized, to try to understand her daughter better. A miscalculated circling, a sad partnerless dance.” (p 99)
  • The living room seemed to be where no living ever actually occurred.” (p 133)
  • For a time leaden weights had been tied by anesthesia to the four corners of his consciousness.” (p 145)
  • The rumours ... wove in and out of the rows of student lockers like the most persistent snakes.” (p 156)
  • He was inside the capsule of his car, thinking of my mother, of how wrong it all was and then how he could not say no to her for reasons he couldn’t hold on to long enough to analyze or disclaim.” (p 194)
  • She watched others tell their drunken bar stories, prostituting their families and their traumas for popularity and booze.” (p 248)

A page turner with some intimate reflections on the nature of our love for one another. July 2018; 328 pages

No comments:

Post a Comment