Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Lovely Bones(Book)

The Lovely Bones
-2002 novel by Alice Sebold
-Tells the story of a teenage girl named Susie Salmon, who, while being raped and murdered, watches over her family and friends struggle to move on with their lives while she comes to terms with her death.

-The title comes from a quote at the end of the movie: "These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections- sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost, but often magnificent- that happened after I was gone. and began to see things in a way that let me hold the world without me in it. The events my death brought were merely the bones that would become whole at some unpredictable time in the future. The price of what I came to see as this miraculous lifeless body had been my life."

-On Dec. 6, 1973, in a Philadelphia suburb, 14 year old Susie Salmon takes her normal route through a cornfield. George Harvey, a 36 year old child killer who is known around the neighborhood as a quiet, yet kind man who builds dollhouses for a living, convinces her to take a look at an underground den he built. Once she enters, he rapes and murders her and dismembers her body, putting it into a burlap sack along with the knife he used and puts it into a safe and dumps it into a sinkhole. Susie's spirit flees toward her personal heaven

-The Salmon family at first refuses to believe Susie is dead, until her elbow is found by a neighbor's dog. The police talk to Harvey, finding him weird, but seeing no reason to suspect him. Susie's dad Jack, goes on extended leave from work, and he begins to suspect Harvey.

-One day, police detective Len Fenerman tells the Salmons that the police have exhausted all leads on her murder and are dropping the investigation. That night, in his study, Jack looks out the window and sees a flashlight in the cornfield. Thinking it's Harvey to destroy evidence, he takes a baseball bat belonging to Lindsay, Susie's younger sister, and goes out to confront him, only to find Susie's best friend Clarissa. As Susie watches from up above as Brian, Clarissa's boyfriend, brutally beats Jack. While he is recovering in the hospital, Susie's mother Abigail begins an affair with the widowed Fenerman

-Trying to help her father prove his suspicions, Lindsay sneaks into Harvey's house and finds a diagram of teh den, but is forced to leave when he gets home. The police, satisfied with Harvey, do not arrest him. This causes him to flee to Norristown. Later, evidence is found linking Harvey to Susie's murder, along with several other murders of young girls. Susie meets his other victims in heaven, sees into Harvey's traumatic childhood and realizes he's made several attempts to stop killing

-Abigail, fed up with Jack's obsessive search for Susie's killer, leaves and takes a job at Krusoe Winery in California. Her mother, Grandma Lynn moves in, and helps to care for Lindsay and Buckley. 8 years later, Lindsay and her boyfriend, Samuel Heckler, get engaged after finishing college, find an old house in the woods owned by a classmate's dad and decide to fix it up and leave. Some time later, Jack suffers a massive heart attack. The emergency prompts Abigail to return, but the reunion is tested by Buckley's resentment towards her for leaving the family for most of his childhood

-Meanwhile, Harvey returns to Norristown, which has become more developed. He explores his old neighborhood and sees the school is being expanded into the cornfield where he killed Susie. He drives by the sinkhole where he dumped Susie and where Ruth Connors and Ray Singh are standing. Ruth, Susie's former classmate, who felt Susie's spirit rush past her, senses the women Harvey killed and os overcome. Susie, watching from heaven, is also overwhelmed with emotion and feels how she and Ruth transcend their presence while the 2 girls exchange positions; Susie's spirit is now in Ruth's body, she connects with Ray, who was to ask her out on a date a few days before she died. Ray senses Susie's presence and is stunned by the fact that Susie is briefly back with him. In the bike shop of Sam Heckler's brother Hal, they find a room with a bathroom, where, in Ruth's body, she takes her clothes off and asks Ray to strip. He tells her he's not like that, and eventually both are naked where they have sex, as Susie wished she could do after seeing Lindsay and Samuel. Afterwards, Susie must return to heaven.

-Susie moves on into another larger part of heaven, occasionally watching her family. Her sister gives birth to a girl, Abigail Suzanne. When stalking another girl in New Hampshire, Harvey is hit on the shoulder with an icicle, which causes him to lose balance and fall over the edge of a cliff, dying from the impact. At the end of the novel, Susie wishes the reader a long and happy life

  • Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old girl with mousy brown hair and pale white skin, who is murdered in the first chapter. She narrates the novel from Heaven, wittnessing the events on earth and experiencing hopes and longings for the things she no longer can do.
  • Jack Salmon, her father, who works for an insurance agency in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. After Susie's death, he is consumed with guilt at having failed to save her.
  • Abigail Salmon, her mother, whose growing family responsibilities frustrate her youthful dreams. After her daughter's death, she drifts away from her husband and has an affair with Detective Len Fenerman.
  • Lindsey Salmon, Susie's younger sister, who tries to help her father investigate Harvey.
  • Buckley Salmon, Susie's brother, is ten years younger than she is. His unplanned birth forced Abigail to cancel her plans for a teaching career. He sometimes sees Susie while she watches him in her heaven.
  • Grandma Lynn, Abigail's mother, an eccentric alcoholic who comes to live with the Salmons when her son-in-law asks her to help her daughter cope with the death, after Abigail leaves she helps with her grandchildren.
  • George Harvey, the Salmons' neighbor, who murders Susie and goes unpunished, even though the Salmons come to suspect him. He eventually leaves Norristown to kill other young girls. Instead he dies in an accident. Throughout the novel Susie refers to him as Mr. Harvey, the name she had addressed him by in life.
  • Ruth Connors, a girl Susie went to school with, whom Susie's spirit touches as she leaves the earth. She becomes fascinated with Susie, despite having barely known her while she was alive, and begins writing about seeing visions of the dead.
  • Ray Singh, a boy from India, (via England), the first and only boy to kiss Susie, who later becomes Ruth's friend. He is first suspected by the police of murdering Susie, but he later proves his alibi. He is the one Susie spends her short time on earth with that she is granted years after her death.
  • Ruana Singh, Ray's mother, with whom Abigail Salmon sometimes smokes cigarettes.
  • Samuel Heckler, Lindsey's boyfriend and later her husband.
  • Hal Heckler, Sam's older brother who runs a motorcycle repair shop.
  • Len Fenerman, the police detective in charge of investigating Susie's death. His wife commits suicide some time before the events of the novel take place and he later has an affair with Abigail.
  • Clarissa, Susie's best friend. explains that she admired Clarissa because she was always allowed to do things Susie was not, like wear platform shoes and smoke. She has a boyfriend named Brian.
  • Holly, Susie's best friend in heaven. While the text does not say so explicitly, it is implied she is Vietnamese American. She has no accent, and took her name from Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
  • Franny, a middle aged woman who worked as a social worker before being shot. She becomes Susie and Holly's mentor in their Heaven.
  • Mr. Dewitt, the boy's soccer coach at school. Mr. Dewitt encourages Lindsey, a successful athlete, to try out for his team.
  • Mrs. Dewitt, Mr. Dewitt's wife, an English teacher at Susie's school. She teaches both Lindsey and Susie.
  • Holiday, Susie's dog.

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