I’m starting to think that there’s a curse on all of the books I read for my book club. The first one was okay, the second and third were terrible (to me, not to everyone else), and now this one, the fourth, is just okay again. But maybe that means the next one will be awesome? I’m going to trust in the math. 🙂
The conceit of this novel is that it’s told from the point of view of a murdered girl. That’s pretty cool, right? The girl, called Susie, is all dead and stuff, but she’s looking down on her family and friends and even the guy who murdered her, watching them deal with the aftermath of her death. Her parents grow apart, her siblings try to deal with going to the same schools Susie went to and being “that dead girl’s little siblings,” which isn’t easy, of course.
When the book starts out, it seems like it’s going to revolve around the living people figuring out who killed Susie, but the murderer is pretty savvy and the trail grows cold pretty quickly for the police, if not for Susie’s dad. Once that happens, the story’s more about how people deal with death, and it’s actually rather interesting to see how Susie’s friends grow up and how her parents start to drift apart. But then… then. There’s a part toward the end where Sebold gets all supernatural and briefly brings Susie back in her friend’s body while her friend goes and hangs out in heaven for a while, and it just completely ruined the book for me. I was okay with Susie’s friend being able (or thinking she’s able) to see spirits after Susie’s death; I am not okay with her being able to go muck about in heaven without being dead. And this whole development is really not important to the story at all except for maybe giving a couple of people closure and providing a sex scene for the novel. No, really. I have no idea.
So. I give Sebold props for writing a convincing portrait of a family after a brutal death, but I would like her to never write such a creepy sex scene ever again, kthx.
(Countdown Challenge: 2002)