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Lovely Bones

Lovely Bones

By Alice Sebold

Paperback, 328 pages

Published September 1st 2006 by Little Brown and Co. (first published July 3rd 2002)

ISBN 0316166685 (ISBN13: 9780316166683)


“These were the lovely bones that had grown around my absence: the connections – sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at a great cost, but often magnificent – that happened after I was gone.”

Alice Sebold’s debut novel revolves around the life and death of Susie Salmon who was mercilessly raped and killed at age fourteen by her psychotic neighbor George Harvey.  After the gruesome event that ended Susie’s promising life on Earth, her soul continued to live  or so it seems somewhere “in between”. A place where new souls stopover and spend time in a heaven of their own concept.  It’s a paradise where nothing is beyond grasp, except life.

* * * * * *

The greatest mistake I did before leafing through the pages of this book was checking out its reviews online. Most reviews gave brutal tirades that started on the author’s use of absolutely confusing metaphors like: “The tears came like a small relentless army approaching the front lines of her eyes. She asked for coffee and toast in a restaurant and buttered it with her tears.” and ended on the conclusion of the latter’s incapability to even write a decent novel.  Although I do agree that I was quite irked with some play on words that were used, I believe that reading Lovely Bones was indeed a very heart-felt experience. I think this matters more than being very clinical with the technicalities in writing.

  • I felt my heart pound when Mr. Harvey began talking to Susie in the creepiest manner, when Lindsey broke into the his house and when I thought Samuel and Lindsey won’t make it home after graduation. Also, I felt like being on the verge of tears and can just imagine Susie still hearing her mom in the background calling her for dinner and even saying something about Buckley’s new drawing posted on the fridge, when the unspeakable was happening to her.
  • I was relieved that the story was not delivered in a way that she’d have to dwell on hunting down Mr. Harvey, because that would have felt quite a burden to read. She was focusing more on the people she loves rather than her violator. People must understand that for a typical fourteen year old life is just that simple, I guess.

The conclusion of the story wasn’t epic at all, but was not bad either like what I have expected based on the bad reviews. The fact that the Salmon family moved on and started putting the broken pieces together by themselves, without needing the help of Susie’s apparition or soulful intervention makes it very realistic. The book made us see how a family will be torn to pieces after a sudden tragedy and how they go through certain stages of denial, rage, and finally, acceptance.

On the same note, it also left a tickle in our imagination on how would our own heaven look like. Maybe, mine would smell of apples, with swirls of marshmallows and cotton candies for clouds that give chocolate rain. It will have lettuce leaves for tree with a hint of Caesar dressing on its tip shaped like a morning dew. It will also have towering bookshelves filled with books of all volumes and from authors of all time in every corner. A place where time is really gold and where happiness is just around the corner.

That’s my own heaven. How about you? What will yours be made of?

What I Want.

Sometimes you wish phone bills, electric bills, sibling’s tuition fees, rent and other stuff that you need to settle just to get by half-decently in this horribly commercialized world, were just mere pieces of paper that you can just jam inside an empty tin can of cheap biscuit and toss in the bin without a tinge of guilt felt. I want that.

Someday there will come a time when you’ll be able muster all the guts you can muster and throw your worries away off  to a place where you can never hear of it again and won’t even fret.  I want that, that would be awesome.

Imagine getting up in the morning looking ten years younger than you really are without all the wrinkles caused by too much anxiety and paranoia. The sun gently touches your angelic face that would have perhaps launched a thousand ships, just laugh lines because  all you do is smile due to happy thoughts swirling inside your head. I want that, that would be great.

You just wake up on the right side of the bed, and right there and then you decide that you are going to go to some exotic never-heard country in Europe no matter what it takes or even costs.  You dust off your trunk and start grabbing some random clothes from the built-in robes without even considering if you’re to face bitter wintry nights or scorching summer days. A few steps more and your loading your camera and all the wires that should come with it. Of course, you won’t forget your 18×24 premium sketchpad . You also take your colorful chunks of pastels and the watercolors that was withered because you hardly use them, maybe you barely even remember the day you bought it.  You twitch your lips and remember that your handy-dandy Moleskin deserves a spot too.

That’s it. Next thing you know,  you’re standing  there on your front door fixing the crease of your Bohemian inspired skirt, all smiles with nothing in mind but that bold game plan to travel, paint and write. A Eureka moment to wander anywhere possible and get inspiration in things you see whether aboriginal or just  from the usual grind. You dilly dally and kill time by people watching in parks and streets , saying hi to random blonde headed tourists and sun-kissed natives.  All these surge of subjects in your mind, you put to put to paper using ink or in a splatter of hues on an acrylic primed canvas. You grin, you look around  and in your head without second thoughts, you define that day as the new best day in your life.  I wish I could have that too, the next best day of my life.

MRT- A Love and Hate Relationship

Months ago I was hired as a writer-producer on an 8am to 5am time slot for this Australian media company based in Makati . Since I live in Bulacan, this involved major commuting on my end. Of course, taking the bus would mean more than an hour of travel plus thirty minutes or more of unimaginable traffic and taking the cab won’t  make any difference since I’ll still be taking the same EDSA on a rush hour jammed with thousands of private and public vehicles ignoring road signs and beating the red lights like it’s just some decorative sparklers hanging without any purpose. You ask the cab driver to take short cuts and that would imply that  you’re giving him the permission to circle on alleys that you’re not familiar with and you just end up a couple hundred bucks broke, still late for work. In short you are left with no other choice but to  take the MRT for time efficiency reasons.

Come to think of it, why not take the MRT? It’s only less than twenty minutes if I take it from GMA-Kamuning station which is by the way the most convenient station to take (no long queue of commuters and many skipping trains) to Ayala station where our office is located. Plus it only costs 12 pesos, compared to 30 pesos or more that a bus ride will cost me and the cab fare is entirely not worth discussing anymore.

On the other note,  MRT is no heaven at all and believe me when I tell you this.  First you have to always be on your toes (you can also do that literally) to watch your belongings, which you’ll never forget for  there’s this guy behind the microphone to remind you constantly about pickpockets.  Next and the most important part is you always have to be ready for the Amazons! If you happen to be facing the door on the side of the station you’ll be getting a good look of those angry faces nearly smacked down on the glass windows pushing each other like runners  for a marathon or whatever , I am not really sure. You can get sweaty and lose all your poise while inside that forsaken trip.  You can even get a bit injured since people will be pushing you like how they’d push a door when a bomb is about to explode plus  bags of all sizes and materials that poke your back or even bruise your arms. Just to make sure we are on the same page, I am talking about the all female coach of the MRT. Imagine women dressed in crisp corporate suits or dainty day dresses pushing other commuters aside as roughly and as violently as possible. It gets frustrating sometimes cause they’ll try to do the same even if there’s a lot of space available, I guess they’re  just caught in the habit.

Then there are those days when you look like a ragged doll being trashed sideways and there’s this other girl who just feels the same frustration your feeling and when you see the look on each other’s faces you’ll just burst into laughter! You start smiling and giggling with a total stranger an instant yet momentary friend.

Every day that train gives me an idea of how miserable it is to be a Spanish sardine jammed in a tin can. Still, every single  day I  chose to get inside and each ride I either love or hate.