For the handful of people out there following this blog, I apologize for my momentary disappearance. My reading project was put on hiatus for a flurry of inspired writing. If you’ve ever written anything you know you have to grab those moments when they come. And there’s something to be said for pausing your short term goals to realize your long term goals. That’s probably in a Stephen Covey model somewhere. Now Goodreads tells me I’m 14 books behind my goal. Thanks, Goodreads, you judgmental bastard.
Anyway, the following monster was the next tic off the list.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, or as it probably should be entitled, Every Parent’s Worst Nightmare, is where I left off.
Just know if you pick up this book and you have children in your life, it is an incredibly difficult read – especially if those children are girls. And I have three.
The author wastes no time diving into the gut-wrenching heartbreak of this novel, so even if you’re hoping to make through a few chapters to get a feel for it, you’ll be hit with the ugly truth. It opens on the brutal rape and murder of the novel’s heroine, Susie, and Sebold doesn’t skip the soul crushing details. You’ll cringe if you’ve ever had a charm bracelet in your life.
Obviously, you can’t begin a story at its climax, which tells us that this one isn’t really about the death of a young girl. More about the resulting aftermath of those left behind, and that is so much more terrifying.
The ensuing plot follows the family and friends of the departed, exploring grief of the worst kind – one where their lost loved one has not only left them, but was brutally taken, ripped from their arms in a fury of incomprehensible horror. In short, it’s just the fucking worst.
This poor family is put through absolute hell. One line in the entire book pretty much sums up the whole trauma, and it bleeds through as a hefty weight in the mind of the ruined girl’s father. You were not there when your daughter needed you.
As each character struggles with their identity in the shadow of the girl they lost, it unearths many an uncomfortable truth. If you make it to the end, it ends well. Or as well as could be expected. It’s a kaleidoscope of terrible sadness, and the best you’ll find is the reassurance that those left behind will always bear the mark of their loss. There is a comfort in remembrance. Maybe it’s the only comfort that can be found.