Monday, February 1, 2010

Book & Movie Review - The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold

Good evening folks. I have a special treat for you today: a double review of The Lovely Bones. Both the novel by Alice Sebold and the movie directed by Peter Jackson. So, without further adieu, let's get to it!

Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 keystone charms

In Seybold's Bones, we follow the lives (and afterlives) of the friends and family of Susie Salmon, a young girl who was raped and murdered in the 70's. We quickly learn that death can be a thing that tears apart the ones we love. However, it can also be the thing that draws them back together.

Bones is a first person narrative told by Susie herself. By the time the reader comes upon her, she is already dead. However, this is just the beginning of her tale. She relates that fateful day in the cornefield, of course, but she also talks about her past and what is happening to her family as they cope with their loss. There are so many things to love about Bones. Susie's narrative is riddled with bittersweetness. She often says things that are at the same time funny and heartwrenching. This mirrors the main plot of her story nicely: her family breaks apart and eventually is healed.

In terms of character development, Sebold does a very nice job. The book deals with Susie's family many years after she dies, and the characters react to different aspects of their lives in a very real way. In addition, Susie herself finds that she comes a long way since the day she died.

The only gripe I have about The Lovely Bones stems from something I love most about the book. Sebold crams many elements into her book: Susie's life before she died, Susie's life in her personal "heaven", her family's life after she dies, her murderer's life, the polices investigation (I can go on and on...). This makes for a very rich story that one can read again and again and pick up new bits. However, Sebold often switches back and forth between these elements in a haphazard way, which can sometimes be distracting.

Never-the-less, The Lovely Bones is an amazing tale of how people cope with loss, and what might happen to us after we die.

4.5 out of 5 keystone charms!


Title: The Lovely Bones
Director: Peter Jackson
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: 4 out of 5

Having read the novel some years ago, you can understand how excited I was when I heard that Bones would become a movie. After reading many less than stellar reviews, I was very nervous about seeing the movie. However, I finally dragged myself to the theaters and I must say, I was not disappointed.

I think the major gripe critics had about The Lovely Bones is that Jackson relied too much on flashy CGI. And yes, while this does at a few points border on needless, The visual representation of Susie's "heaven" is very stunning and brings a visual element to the audience that the book seemed to lack.

In terms of actor performances, everyone was top notch (the top of the heap, of course, was Stanley Tucci as Mr. Harvey). The emotion was there, which is absolutely necessary to a story like this.

Many things were cut out of the movie, of course, due to time restraints. However, I think that what Jackson DID use was very well done. He also included many little details that fans of the book would appreciate. However, I can see that if one had not read the book, they may feel that Bones lacked substance. And to be honest, as a stand alone movie, it did. However, when taken in conjunction with the book, I believe the movie was definitely worth seeing.

4 out of 5!

1 comment:

  1. last comment for the day, I think. Sorry to be flooding you like this, but I am thrilled to be reading your posts because I think it is so cool that you have read much of what i have already read or want to.

    The book, when I read this one, I closed the first chapter in shock! It was a horrifying chapter. That is horror for me!! Background: My now 15-year old daughter read this book before me, so I was shocked that she read this book. I think she was about 13 or so when she did so. Anyhow, I went on because of her, and did really like the book. It was good (can you apply a word like that to a story of this nature?). I have no interest in seeing the movie though. To be hit with the whole thing again, but visually this time does not interest me, but I am glad to know that you think the movie did a good job.
    Side note: I do like Mark Wahlberg. Have you seen Rock Star? I really like that movie. It is not an award winner or anything but it sure was entertaining.