Monday, November 19, 2012

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

Occasionally I read a book simply because it is popular.
More often than not, this is a bad decision.
Such is the case with The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold.


I purchased a copy of this book (not the cover pictured here) at a resale shop much like Goodwill.
The book was maybe $2.50, so I knew it wasn't an irrational purchase.
Besides, it was a book. -shrugs-

When I finally got around to reading it, I had a difficult time getting into it because of the subject matter.
Susie Salmon, fourteen, was raped and murdered in the cornfield behind her house and her body, of course, was not found. Her murderer was one of the men who lived in the neighborhood, but obviously she's dead, she can't tell them that. But what Sebold does is create a kind of heaven where Susie can observe everything going on down on earth; essentially, she receives a special gift in that she can see how her family gets along without her.
Of course, it's hard to see how this is a gift since her family is so obviously heartbroken and they make some horrible decisions because of it, like her mother having an affair with the detective on the case. (Personally, I found that so stupid of a plot line and I almost stopped reading at that point.)


The premise of the story is intriguing. Let's be honest here. Most people probably would love to see how their families and friends get along on earth without them, whether they died naturally or were brutally murdered, or whatever. But that's not what heaven is about. It's quite obvious that Sebold isn't a Christian, but that's not what bothered me the most about this book. I can handle that.

What bothered me the most is basically the fact that this book got published at all. Yeah, that's extreme, but the writing is so appalling and choppy and...oh man, it's bad. Points of view get all jumbled up, there's no clear frame of time in which anything happens, etc. Sebold's descriptions are pretty awful, too. I was mentally editing this book as I was reading it, that's how bad it was.

And by the end of the book, I came to the conclusion that the only purpose for Susie's hanging around in her heaven-that-touched-earth for so long was so that her friends could grow up and Ruth could swap bodies with her so she could sleep with the boy who kissed her shortly before her death. It was super weird and I still don't know how I felt about that. Actually, I do know. It was incredibly shallow and of course shouldn't have surprised me in today's sex-crazed world.


I can't give this book anymore than one star. It was so bad, really. It could have been awesome. It had potential. But no. It sucked majorly. Let me re-write it and then maybe it'd be a little better. :P

Friday, November 2, 2012

Twitter-style book reviews no. 1

Greetings, fellow book lovers!
Because I haven't been on here in kind of awhile, I'm not going to attempt to write full reviews for the books I've read since my last review.
This, unfortunately, may become more of the norm than the exception, just because of priorities.
But, we shall see.

Now, if I can remember the books I've read since my last posting....

Pagan Christianity?: Exploring the Roots of Our Church Practices, by Frank Viola and George Barna.
    Umm, no. This book was badly researched and not really well-written. I will concede that they have a few good points concerning the practices that arose in the last couple hundred years, but the further back they go they just don't really have it right. Plus, both guys really seem to have a vendetta against the denominations that have structure, and that sickens me for many reasons. One star.

Spring Snow, by Yukio Mishima.
    Four stars. It was a good book, though difficult at times. Set in the 1910s in Japan, it gave me a wonderful insight into the Westernization of Japan.

The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.
    This was a re-read. I originally gave it five stars, and I stick with that. It's an excellent beginning to the trilogy.

The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic, by Allan Wolf.
    THIS BOOK. Five stars. Oh, I cried. I'm a sucker for anything Titanic-related, and this was so excellent. It's a novel in poetry, all thoughts from real people who were on the ship. It was sooooo good.

Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami.
    Four stars. Another Japanese novel, this one modern and magical realism. It was quite a ride and a metaphysical one at that. Some weird stuff, too...but it was well-written and I enjoyed the dreamlike quality of the writing.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by J.K. Rowling.
   I have no idea how many times I've read this. Five stars, as always. I love the beginning of Harry's adventures so much. Such an endearing book. I hope Rowling goes back to children's lit...her adult novel isn't really that great. (I can't review it yet as I haven't finished it, but ugh.)

The Kissing Sailor: The Mystery Behind the Photo that Ended World War II, by Lawrence Verria and George Galdorisi.
    Awesome story, not so awesome writing. Well, okay, the writing was all right. It was written like a research paper. But therein lies the problem. Each chapter read like a separate paper, with no good connections in-between. So much was repeated on almost every page and some things were clearly not in the right place. Two stars, though I would still recommend it for the story.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows.
    I give this adorable little novel four stars. I would give it five, but I generally reserve that for life-changing books. While this novel-in-letters set in 1946 and revolving around the little isle of Guernsey off the coast of France didn't change my life, I absolutely adored it. It was just cute and a feel-good novel in the end, even though there were some details that were horrific (relating, of course, to WWII).


There you have it.
The books I've read recently.

Currently Reading:
1. The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling. (She could have left out MOST of the expletives...)
2. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold. (I don't know who told this woman she could write, because she can't.)
3. Vanity Fair, by Thackeray. (Who would have thought it'd take me over a year to read this...)