So I read this book today, "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold. I had wanted to read this for several years and I finally found a copy for sale in the library. You think, a girl gets murdered and tries to communicate to her family about who did it. What could be more exciting than that?
Let me spare you 330 pages.
I could use this book in a writing class on how not to write well, and also as an example of how total crap can still manage to sell millions of copies.
There is a shopping list of characters I had trouble keeping track of, they were so plain and unappealing. I didn't care about a single one of them, except the villain, who I wanted to finally be brought to justice, but he wasn't. The few characters who I do remember I could probably summarise in a couple of words.
You have the mother, who is a selfish disgrace, who has an affair with the keystone cop who has never solved a murder case in his entire career (as evident from the stack of pictures he keeps in his wallet of all the victims he never found), while her husband is in the hospital after being savagely beaten by a thug who he accidentally ran across trying to get laid in a corn field. She then runs off without telling anyone to California for a decade because she just wanted sex, not kids. When she comes back under unbelievable circumstances (her husband has a heart attack and all of a sudden she cares enough to go back home) it's only the teenage son, who she left as a toddler, who has the guts to tell her to fuck off for being a horrible monster of a person, but in the end all is forgive and forget.
The father who, I don't even know what he does, it's mentioned he worked once, but let's assume he's on the welfare because in every scene he is in his study writing down theories of his daughter's death and brooding. He's the butt monkey of the story who gets beaten up, cheated on, and nearly dies.
The sister who is in permanent bitchy mode for several chapters until she becomes the bland, featureless girlfirend of some guy who is equally featureless who drives a motorcycle. He's some kind of a carpenter I think.
He's presented as kind of a bad boy greaser, but he's about as exciting as tepid bath water. They have sex at summer camp, I think.
The brother who tries really hard to be the one normal character in the whole book, but he becomes cold and distant later on after putting up with the collective shit of all the other characters.
The alcoholic grandmother who's been around the block more than a few times acts kind of as a comedy relief character. She also serves as a foil to the mother for a couple of chapters before she runs away to California.
The Indian woman neighbor wants a divorce because she's not living a story book romance.
Her son, the dead girl's boyfriend. He's supposed to be like the most smoking hot guy who ever lived because he's the one brown person in a town of white people. He's that guy all the girls go crazy for and you can never figure out why he's getting laid every night while you and your friends can't get any. Aside from the fact that he's the ONE foreign boy in town I can't figure out why he's so damn attractive. He has sex with the dead girl when she possesses the body of the feminazi in the second to last chapter. I shit you not. They're a half mile from the murder scene, the dead girl possesses the body of this girl who's driving with the Indian guy, and she has a couple hours with him to tell him "hey, my body is buried right there, behind those trees. You can solve the murder that's been open for a decade right now, just go there and dig. There's fifteen pages left in the book, you can bring colsure to the entire story, just dig up the fucking body." Nope. She says "come with me in the shower and let's fuck" and even though she's possessing the body of the feminazi the Indian guy doesn't find it at all odd and they fuck right there.
There's the keystone cop, who's specialty is not solving crimes, it's seducing other men's wives. He's apparently done it a lot of time, since the book says he has a special room where he goes to have affairs with more women than you will ever date in your entire life.
There's the feminazi who turned total batshit crazy after the girl died. She started smoking pot and drawing the women from Playboy. She writes poetry and sees crimes against women everywhere she goes. Literally. She hallucinates rapes and murders everywhere.
She'll go get coffee and see an apparition behind the counter of a dead woman. Or she'll see a murder taking place on a rooftop across the street. She obsesses over solving the dead girl's murder, but when she finally gets the idea to go to where the body is hidden, and she sees the dead girl's ghost, she doesn't say anything to the Indian boy, she writes it down and then pretends like nothing happened. She passes out for no evident reason and spends a few hours in the most boring Heaven imaginable reading poems to dead beatniks while the dead girl is having sex with her body.
There's the villain who is like the god of all pedophiles.
He's killed at least 20 people but he's so non-threatening, he's so pathetic, that nobody ever suspects him. Except the father, and the sister, but they're dismissed as crazy because the god of pedophiles can't be guilty because all the police in this world are totally incompetent. He has a diagram of the murder scene and the thinnest of tissue paper alibis, and the keystone cops believe him! After ten years everyone forgets about him and the dead girl. The dead girl, hovering over him while he's outside having a smoke, startles him with a falling icicle, he has a heart attack, and dies. On the second to last fucking page. That's how it ends. She literally could have killed him at any time in the entire story, but she waits until the second to last page because I guess the author saw the book was going to end and needed an actual ending or a lot of people would be pissed off. She would have been happy just to let him get away scott free.
Then there's the dead girl herself, who narrates this book. And she talks non-the-fuck-stop about the most boring, tangential crap nobody cares about. This book could have easily been 120 pages, but it just kept going about train rides and tomato plants, and boring every day shit like those old books the so called "great" authors wrote back in the day when they were paid by the word so they wrote these absolutely huge monstrosities that could bore you to sleep. At LEAST half the book is useless tangents that don't advance the story at all.
And you have the absolute most boring depiction of Heaven ever in all of literature. Every day the dead girl sits in a gazebo and watches the people on Earth, and every night all the dead people gather together and have a rock concert or something. It wouldn't even be a week before I got bored of that, let alone eternity.
I'm glad I only paid a dollar for it. This is definitely one to skip.