Shame, shame, SHAME on me for taking so long to read The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold. This is a book you will not forget.
By the time we meet Susie Salmon, our 14-year-old narrator, she is already dead. She tells the story of her own murder, and then of her family's efforts to deal with the ripple effects of the tragedy. She peeks in on what her killer's up to. She tells us about her friends and the boy she loved, and how everyone is trying to understand how someone can be part of the world one minute and gone the next.
She describes heaven. She relishes her memories of the short life she lived, and how she still loves the people she loved while she was alive. She talks alot about how the living struggle with letting go of the dead, and also how the dead struggle with letting go of the living.
This book hooks you from the very first word. No slow starting for THIS novel. And it keeps you there, dangling in delicious attention, until the last sentence. Susie Salmon just feels real. And she expresses so many things that we already feel about our lives - how precious they are, how precarious. How fragile life is. How odd circumstance may be all that stands between us and disaster, or all that brings horror to roost on our doorsteps. How sometimes, wanting things hard enough is sufficient to make them happen.
I just cannot say enough about this novel. You will love it. Go read it immediately. Sebold has a new novel out, The Almost Moon, that has gotten mixed reviews. However, I plan to check out some of her other books in the very near future.