Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Lovely Bones By Alice Sebold

Ah, The Lovely Bones.  I've been meaning to read it for quite some time and finally managed it.  We had bought a copy for my daughter, Korihn, shortly after seeing the movie on DVD (when it first released in April 2010) and I've been meaning to swipe it from her ever since.  Unfortunately, I don't get much time to ACTUALLY read these days (most of the books I read are audiobooks I listen to during my daily commute or on my ipod while running).  Consequently, my time to read the printed word is precious forcing me to prioritize my selections.  The Lovely Bones, just kept sliding down the list.

After being amazed by If I Stay (thanx again for this marvelous book Gayle Forman!) and seeing the many reviews that compared it to The Lovely Bones, I had decided to bump it up on the list. Then I discovered that our library had secured a copy of the audiobook.  I was thrilled (book club has greatly effected my reading priorities as all of our selections, thus far, have only been available to me in a print format (I use that term losely and consider Kindle and eBooks print formats) and obviously those books have to be read by a certain date).

I understand that the vehicle for the story is what creates the comparison between it and If I Stay, but as far as I'm concerned that's where the similarities end. The plot, the tone, and the manner in which the narrator delivers the story, are all ratically different.  While The Lovely Bones is the heavier read (or perhaps because of this), I much preferred If I stay, which is anything but fluff itself.  Although I liked this book, I think it is way overated.

This was Alice Sebold's freshman effort and, to me, much of the prose felt forced.  Alice manages to write some very artistic sentences, but at the same time, it mostly felt as if she were trying too hard to turn phrases into just the right light, making it feel staged, rather than fluid.  This approach garnered her as many stinkers as gems, in my opinion.

Alice (in this book, anyway) has a tendency to start things that she doesn't fully follow through with.  For a better understanding of what I mean by this, check out Something Smells Rotten at http://fundamental-spoliers.blogspot.com/2011/07/monopoly-and-lovely-bones.html (this is our spoiler page, so if you have not read the book, go there at you own peril).  It contains but one example of what I'm talking about.  The book has many, some more and some less egregioius.

Alice does a pretty good job of character building in this book and writes a pretty convincing and thoroughly disturbing villain.  However I found her mythos?... world building?... other reality creation?... whatever, under-developed and unmoving.  There were also a couple of scenes that I thought were fairly rediculous (again, I refer you to the above link for an example).

Despite my complaints, it was a great concept and the story was pretty good.  I read the excerpt of the first chapter of The Almost Moon, and look forward to reading the rest of the book for book club later this year.


No comments:

Post a Comment