Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Eye of the Beholder

On the repeated recommendations of many friends, I finally read The Lovely Bones by Anne Seybold. I was warned that it was disturbing but fantastic and a must read.

It was definitely fantastic but unlike some of my friends, I didn’t find it disturbing. The fact that the story’s narrator is a 14 year old girl who has been brutally raped, murdered and butchered really should make it disturbing. But, honestly, I found this book absolutely lovely. The narrator tells her story from just before her murder, through her murder and after, as she watches her family from heaven, through the years and observes, with the naiveté of a child, (which is what she will always be) the impact of her death, until closure.

Seybold’s narrator is simply brilliant. Her narrative evolves from bewildered to sad to angry to empathetic with a child’s matter of fact tone. She is actually very funny and charming in her observations of the world she was once part of, and still feels a part of, despite no longer having the physical presence in the family.

I almost was sucked into expecting some fantastically unrealistic and happy ending and was so happy that didn’t happen. Above all, Seybold remained true to her characters and did not compromise them for a nice tidy ending. And although a little girl was murdered, and family suffered tremendously, the story did come to a conclusion that I cannot describe as anything but extremely satisfying. Thus, happy, disturbing, truth, beauty, etc., really are in the eye of the beholder.

The Lovely Bones
Anne Sebold
Little, Brown and Company US