Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 01/6/2010

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones book

The Lovely Bones book

I read the book The Lovely Bones a few years after it came out. I was about fourteen and I couldn’t remember having ever read a book where the protagonist reminded me so much of myself, or at least somebody with a voice I could relate to. The protagonist, Susie Salmon, was the same age as I was, but all the other fourteen year olds being portrayed in books that I had read were usually vapid (uh, The Clique books, anyone?). The character of Susie Salmon was smart, compassionate and observant.

She was also dead and spent the majority of the book watching the people she loved slowly self-destruct in the wake of her rape and murder and was dealing with the fact that her life ended just as it was even beginning.

Other than that, I found that I could really relate to Susie.

So when I heard they were making a movie of The Lovely Bones, I wondered who they would get to play the protagonist. When I heard it was Saoirse Ronan, I was pretty pumped. I saw her in Atonement and I feel confident that she will do this character justice. And that’s important, because as we know for every one ditzy girl depicted in teen fiction there are about ten represented in the movies.

Aside from a strong female protagonist (who happens to also be a teenager), I think this film has a lot to offer in the way of subject matter. Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones, was brutally raped as a freshman in college, which she wrote about in her memoir, Lucky, but also drew upon to write The Lovely Bones.

I think in this book Sebold really humanized the entire act of rape – really made people think about the act and the people who are involved in a deep way for the first time (that I’m aware of). Instead of rape being a later-dismissed plot line in some thriller, or something that happened to a virginal girl by an evil man to prove just how pure she was and just how evil he was, Sebold humanized both people involved – showed that this was wasn’t a stereotypical act in any way.

In the book, Susie, the “victim,” has a chance to completely develop her perspective and is allowed to tell her own story about the incident. The act is less about perpetuating a plot and enforcing stereotypical characterization, and more about really focusing on the emotional impact of rape on not only the victim’s life, but on everybody who loves her. We are also given a look into the rapist’s life, shown how somebody could act in such a way. Although he is never forgiven for the terrible crime, we are shown that he is not just a one sided monster, but a disturbed individual.

I really hope that the movie, which comes out on January 15th, captures all of this. Considering the cast — Susan Sarandon, Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci and of course Saoirse Ronan — I think they have a good chance at succeeding.

Lovely Bones Trailer

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  • Zoe @ at 12:42 pm, January 4th, 2010

    I’ve heard that the rape is totally glossed over in the movie, hardly even referenced. It focuses just on her murder. If so, I’m going to be irritated.

    I am looking forward to the movie, still. I really enjoyed the book when I read it years ago. Really stuck with me.

  • Alex F @ at 1:00 pm, January 4th, 2010

    I would like to see the movie and read the book :) Thanks, Julie!

  • Beth Eades @ at 1:30 pm, January 4th, 2010

    In response to Zoe’s comment, I think they glossed over it to get the film a lower rating. Not sure if that’s a good thing, but if it gets a wider audience to see this amazing film it might be worth it.

    I read this when I was about 11, possibly a little too young but I loved it anyway and it’s really stuck in my mind ever since – I’m hoping the film’s just as good!

  • Chelsea! @ at 2:30 pm, January 4th, 2010

    I loved this book. It really gave me a different perspective on things. When I heard they were making the movie I got pretty pumped. I’m encouraging everyone to see it and read the book. It’s truly mind blowing.

  • Natasha @ at 10:50 pm, January 4th, 2010

    i loved this book! it was different from all the books the girls in my class read(twilight and the clique). at 1st i thought itd just be a plain old mystery and all but it wasnt at all. it was great:)

  • Vee @ at 10:53 pm, January 4th, 2010

    This was one of the first few books I really enjoyed and recommended to anyone who would listen. But if I’m honest, I’m not to excited about the movie only because I’m scared they will ruin the book. I guess I will have to treat the movie and the book as two different things.

  • Amy CT @ at 10:32 am, January 5th, 2010

    I first read it only last month, because I wanted to creatively adapt it into a play for my Theatre Studies A-Level… so I was kind of annoyed that it’s being made into a film…

    But having seen that trailer, I’m actually really excited for it!

  • Toongrrl @ at 5:36 pm, January 5th, 2010

    I am looking forward to the film

  • Emmy Hutsell @ at 1:13 pm, January 7th, 2010

    Mr or Mrs Webmaster i just got a popup from my firewall when i opened your page do you happen to know how come this occured? Could it be from your ads or something? Thanks, really strange i pray it was harmless?

  • Julie Z @ at 6:13 pm, January 7th, 2010

    @Emmy Hutsell: I’m really sorry about that…I don’t know why that would happen or what the source is, but I’ll look into it.

  • Holly @ at 5:39 am, January 9th, 2010

    I had heard The Lovely Bones was being made into a movie but hadn’t seen the trailer until now. It looks awesome! I am officially psyched for the movie now!

  • Melanie @ at 10:53 am, January 9th, 2010

    I loved the book, so I was worried they’d butcher it. And in one major way, they kinda did. The killer is obsessed with murdering young girls so while you might be able to INFER that he rapes them – the movie does not mention it ONCE. If I were Alice Sebold, I’d be pissed! They removed one of the fundamental aspects of the novel. That being said, I think the actors all do a great job, and the film is exceedingly creative, so I did enjoy the movie quite a bit, but for some (possibly significant) disappointments.

  • Tammi L. Coles @ at 8:44 am, January 14th, 2010

    Roger Ebert leaves a scathing review of the film, but he’s not read the novel: http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100113/REVIEWS/100119992

  • Franabelle @ at 5:39 pm, January 14th, 2010

    The movie is about a girl who is raped and killed by a pedophile. The casting choice for this movie makes me sick to my stomach and very reluctant to watch it, because the actor playing the boy Salmon is supposed to love is 24, while Saoirse is 16, and supposed to be 14. The casting choice is a little creepy.

    If you click “Franabelle”, it should be a link to a still of the two from IMDb. In the still, Salmon doesn’t look confident, and I’m afraid they have weakened her strong character.

  • Backlinks @ at 5:19 pm, February 14th, 2011

    Amazing freakin blog here. I almost cried while reading it!

  • seo tools @ at 7:35 pm, April 5th, 2011

    Good info over again. Thanks a lot=)

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