Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Lovely Bones: The Movie-A loss of life and what lies beyond...Where does one begin? The book or the movie?

As a result of my experience with Twilight, I've discovered I prefer to see the movie adaptation of a book before reading the book itself if possible. Once again, I've heard and read that many of the people who read the book, The Lovely Bones were disappointed in the movie. They felt a critical scene-the rape of the young girl Susie, was left out of the movie and merely implied. These readers felt Susie's take on her loss of innocence was an even greater theme of the book then the murder itself.

Perhaps, but I am unable to weigh in on that, because I wasn't able to finish the book. I saw the book in Barnes and Noble and considered buying it, but the premise of a murdered youngster gave me pause. I decided I didn't want to read about that. I ran across the book in the library and peeked at it again. I'd heard so much about it, I decided to give it a try, so I checked it out of library and gave it a go.

I didn't go on for too long. The rape and murder occurred in the first few pages and was fairly graphic. I found myself cringing more than a few times, but that wasn't even the worst of it for me. Seeing the misery and fear of her family over the missing girl-that the reader knows is dead, but the family does not-was depressing. I tried to soldier on, but every time I tried to continue, it depressed me. I don't read books to become depressed so I gave up and returned the book to the library long before it was due. Then I saw the movie.

Much has been made of director Peter Jackson's use of somewhat psychedelic visual imagery to depict the heavenly-like purgatory in which Susie resides after her death. Much of it hasn't been complimentary. I enjoyed the movie-if one can really "enjoy" such a topic really. Perhaps appreciated is a better term.

We all know that such abductions and murders occur, but this was like having a front row seat in the mind of a killer-being made privy to his hunt and the care and detail he puts into it. I thought it was important for people to be exposed to the real dangers that exist even when things appear to be well. We all need to be more careful and this movie turns up and refines your radar-if you're savvy and determined not to be mislead by denial.

I also appreciated the focus on the afterlife-the recognition that there is more than what we see here-whether Peter's Jackson's version is correct is clearly debatable. I liked the effort anyway.

I'm going to try the book again. I want to see how it differs from the movie, if I agree or disagree with some of the opinions I've heard. I want to know what the author Alice Sebold was trying to say in her book. I have formed my opinions since seeing the movie. I want to know if my opinions and sensibilities hold up after reading the book and whether the author and I are on the same page-or not.



  1. I read the book this month, after having a copy for years on my "unread" shelf. I saw that the movie was coming out, and I wanted to read the book before the movie trailers altered my internal images.

    I wish I hadn't. THE LOVELY BONES is still haunting me.

    It hurt to read. It hurts to remember. It makes me feel sick.

    Now, my book opens with an attempted rape scene which is pretty graphic, but my MC fights off the guys. She spends a big chunk of the book dealing with the trauma. But there's an empowerment to her, because she DID overcome it.

    I think the part of THE LOVELY BONES that made it hurt so much was that none of the family ever does overcome it. They move on with their lives with big, gaping wounds in their souls.

  2. That's what bothered me so much-the pain the family was going through-I don't think I even finished the first chapter. It all became too much for me. The hardest part is that you know this really happens to people. This is not just make-believe.

    Damn! I'm sorry to hear the family doesn't overcome. Now I fear trying to read it again, but I probably will. Just not now.

  3. I had to finish once I started. Unfinished books haunt me more than the ones I complete, since I get at least some closure.

    If you want a similarly-themed book that won't leave you with the same sense of PTSD, try DEEP END OF THE OCEAN.

  4. Okay. I accept the challenge. I'm going to read it again-eventually. It'll probably bug me if I don't. I have to know for myself what your talking about. Thanks for the tip about DEEP END OF THE OCEAN. And thanks for the posts! You validated what I was feeling.

  5. I had the same exact thought about the murder of a young girl. Friends say they were interested and I have stayed away. Just to upsetting really.

  6. The topic, though reality-based, doesn't make for a "fun" read so you almost have to prepare yourself before delving into it. A couple of friends who haven't read the book, but saw the movie, said it made them cry. It's deep. Thanks for stopping by Ben.

  7. I read this book several years ago, before I had children. I don't remember being upset by it. But I suspect I would have a different reaction if I read it today. Having kids changes your perspective.

  8. Apparently a lot of people found it compelling and palatable enough to read it through and drive it to the Best Sellers list. I'm hoping to be one of them - in the future! Thanks for your insights Paula.


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