June 27, 2009

I'm a Book Reviewer!

Okay, not really. But, after mentioning in my last post that I recently read THE LOVELY BONES, I got a message from the lovely Chelsea/Page Flipper saying she had also just read (and reviewed!) the very same book. (I'm so glad I wasn't the last person to show up at the party...or...wait...was I?) Anyway, I wrote a lengthy reply to Chelsea's review and then realized it basically amounted to my own review...so I've decided to post a slightly modified version of my comments here in case any other LOVELY BONE-heads want to weigh in and share their thoughts. So...here it is:

THE LOVELY BONES BY ALICE SEBOLD
as reviewed by moi...

I had heard all the hype about THE LOVELY BONES ages ago (including people mourning the fact that they couldn't find a single book club not reading it), but wasn't necessarily expecting much when I finally--seven years after the fact--dove in myself. Call me Pollyanna, but a lot of hype typically makes me expect less of a book (or whatever it is being hyped).

SO...let's start with the bad (see previous "Pollyanna" reference): Like Chelsea, there is one part of the book in particular that rubbed me the wrong way or, as Chelsea said, was "very WTF." This is why I said, in my last post, that I wasn't sold on the second half. It was basically a Sixth Sense/"I see dead people" thing that stayed in the oven way too long--and suddenly, our protagonist is returning to earth from heaven, inhabiting the body of her former (quasi-lesbian) classmate, and then hooking up with her former (male) crush. WTF indeed. Not only was it all a bit far-fetched--it almost seemed like it belonged in another book. Even the voice seemed off. It sort of made me remember that one chapter in Melissa Banks' THE GIRLS' GUIDE TO HUNTING AND FISHING, if anyone's read that (if you have, I think you'll know what I'm talking about).

That said, there were many things about this book that I LOVED and that kept me reading:

1. The writing was stunning. Although there were a lot of characters to follow and it got choppy and skipped around quite a lot, I mostly found it to be pitch-perfect, eloquent, breathtaking...and yes, lovely. The fact that Sebold could make such morbid subject matter (a girl who's been brutally raped and murdered and watches the aftermath on earth from her perch in heaven) almost status quo--even humorous at times--was, to me, a major coup. I loved that Sebold maintained such sympathy and neutrality for all the characters, even the most grotesque. Pure genius, IMO.

2. The will-they-or-won't-they catch the rapist/killer plotline was riveting. It's been ages since I've read a book I just didn't want to put down. This one had me going and going because I wanted to see what would happen next and what clues would be uncovered, how the characters would evolve (and boy did they--well, most of them), etc.

3. The quasi-spirituality was compelling. I'm not a particularly religious person and I thought the way the afterlife was presented here was quite interesting without being overdone. Made me think about life. And death. And stuff.

There were a lot of other things I liked and disliked (the ending was quite a let-down for me), but I should probably just shut up already and stick to writing books rather than reviewing them. For now, anyway. ;-)

I'm interested to hear from any of you who've read THE LOVELY BONES, too. So please share your thoughts.

XO

4 comments:

Chelsea said...

Hey, that's me! How cool! Thanks for the mention. :)

You should totally start reviewing. I loved your comment! And it sounds like you have a lot to say about the books you read. You should start, like, a weekly or bi-weekly book review feature here.

Shelli said...

LOVE this book and author! next read Lucky!

Sheila said...

I read this a long time ago and I thought it was "ok". It wasnt exceptional by no means and I remember there were parts I struggled with but it was my pre blogging days so I had to actually go back to my book journals here to see what I had thought.

My "reviews" were not that great in 2004, all I wrote was that the ending did not satisfy. Not sure where I was going with that...

:)

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