12 member(s) found this review helpful.
A strange book about a disturbing topic. There is nothing uplifting or happy about this story. I know others rave about this book, but I'm going to be in the minority. I didn't like this story. No one really mourned Susie in the way I would have expected. The mother is barely described. Only the father is keenly drawn. The grandmother is a caricature. The worst part is the incredible hard to believe scene near the end of the story.
This book has a lot of hype around it. Perhaps in the hands of a better author it could have been something really great. The premise of the story while incredibly tragic is intriguing, and the story starts out with a very memorable beginning, but the plot and writing just don't deliver. The ending was so unsatisfactory.
[SPOILER ahead] Susie is raped, murdered, and dismembered. After several years in Purgatory, she has the opportunity to switch bodies briefly with her somewhat psychic school friend who is alive on Earth. What does Susie do? Instead of alerting the police to where her remains are (the remains were never found except for an elbow), instead of contacting her grieving family, instead of alerting someone to what exactly happened, instead of all those things she could possibly do to help her case and her family, she has sex with a boy she knew in school!! After having sex, she returns her friend's body back to her, and returns to Purgatory. That makes no sense at all. Susie's last sexual experience as a virgin was a brutal rape. So the first chance she has at communicating with people in the living physical world, she decides to have sex? She wants sex that badly after her last experience with a man? It's very unrealistic and very strange to say the least. I nearly gave up on the book at this point because it was so ridiculous especially considering the author's very public acknowledgment of her own rape during college.
9 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sebold's novel has become a staple of bookshelves and reading groups everwhere, because it really is that good. Her elegant prose is engaging and fluid, and the plot is intruiging.
Sebold is a gifted storyteller and even those who did not like the book often praise her imaginative storyline. Finally, her novel is so cleverly written that it makes one forget it's fiction, which is exactly what a good novelist aims for. If you have not read this thought-provoking book, take a chance on it. I highly recommend it.
(Those who have lost a child in a crinimal manner and/or those who are particularly sensitive to sexual crimes may want to avoid this book due to certain images. While not shockingly gruesome, they are somewhat perverse--which fits directly into the plot.)
6 member(s) found this review helpful.
I really liked this book.You could say that the subject matter was disturbing about a 14 year old girl who is murdered.I thought the author did a wonderful job showing us what a family goes through when they lose a child.I also liked the way the murdered girl describes what heaven looks like to her.I also liked how she could look down from heaven and could see what was going on without her being alive.you could really feel for the characters in this story.The book had me hooked and I read it every chance I got.