My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer.
This is Susie Salmon speaking from heaven – which looks a lot like her school playground, with the good kind of swing sets, counsellors to help newcomers adjust, and friends to room with. Everything Susie wants appears as soon as she thinks of it – except the one thing she wants most: to be back with the people she loved on earth.
Watching from her place in heaven, Susie sees her happy suburban family devastated by her death, isolated even from one another as they each try to cope with their terrible loss alone. Over the years, her friends and siblings grow up, fall in love, do all the things she never had the chance to do herself. But life is not quite finished with Susie yet…
I’ve seen this book quite often in the library but never been quite gripped enough by the back cover to take it home, but when I found it in my village book swap I decided to give it a go – you can never go wrong with free books! I am so glad I did because I would now say it is one of my favourite reads of 2015.
The book is narrated by Susie Salmon who is lured into an underground room and killed by a man from her neighbourhood. She then watches her family from heaven as they grieve and each learn to cope with her death in different ways. Her mother retreats inside the family home; her father is set finding who is responsible for her death; her younger sister Lindsey tries to move on with her life; and her little brother Buckley is unable to completely understand what has happened to Susie.
The Lovely Bones is not a book where much happens, it is just a gentle observation of the everyday lives of a family learning to cope with the loss of a loved one but that is just the sort of thing I love. The fact that it is set in 1970s USA also appeals to me – I love reading things set in the 60s-80s because life seemed so much simpler without all the extensive technology we rely on now.
I know that The Lovely Bones will be a book that I continue to read again and again and will now stay on my bookshelf forever.
Murderers are not monsters, they’re men. And that’s the most frightening thing about them.