This is the beginning of my one-paragraph book reviews, drawn from the list of books that I promised to myself that I’d read before 2010 ends. Please keep in mind these are immediate reactions, rather than thoughtful reviews; if you disagree with me on a point, so be it. Take pity on a fussy kindergartener.
I started with The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold on Sunday at 8PM. I finished it on Monday at noon. I lost around three hours of my life. For a book that sold 10-20 million copies, along with Cat in the Hat and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I was expecting something that would blow my mind. I was not expecting a sentimental, piece-of-anticlimactic… not ruining any endings, The Lovely Bones ends with a final deux ex machina, and I was highly displeased. With all the leading on Sebold takes us on the murder of Susie, the conclusion was unsatisfactory, and too happy. Of course, it is not a bad thing if a book ends happily, but somehow, when everything works out in the end, it cheapens the experience. The horrific murder scene seems like a mere shock value tactic, a devious plot device to keep us reading until the end– until we actually realize what a horrible piece-of-anticlimactic poo it is. Despite some original ideas about heaven, the ethereal images collapse at the final drawing of the curtains. Michelle’s reaction: now really. Really. Of course dead Susie still gets to fulfill her unfulfilled earthly dreams. Really. Very Very Classy. Life doesn’t work that way, Susie. Life isn’t going to be as long and happy as you wish it.
Conclusion: if you like happy/sappy sentimental stories that have a shock value beginning, please indulge. If you’re on a classics stride like me, ignore this book completely (also ignore The Memory Keeper’s Daughter).