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Old 01-18-2010, 02:18 PM   #1
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The Lovely Bones

I read this book several years ago. It was one of those I had to force myself to finish, and by the end, I loved it. But I have not had the courage to read another book by this author.

Well, now they are making a movie of the book, and it is being advertised as a murder mystery. That was really not the point of the book, from my view. My daughter wants to see the movie. I told her I would not take her unless she read the book, which she refused. I think this is a wonderful chance to show the superiority of the written word over the movie.

What do you think? Or did I just miss the whole point of the book, and it really is just a murder mystery?
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Old 01-18-2010, 02:59 PM   #2
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I didn't think it was a murder mystery. I just remember it as depressing. As far as I know, she's only written one other book, "Lucky," her memoir published before The Lovely Bones.

I think I'd just let your daughter see the movie, but maybe express that it would be interesting to see the differences if she did read it first.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:16 PM   #3
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I tend to agree with you both. I had to make myself keep reading it (my son's girlfriend lent it to me) and I found it depressing also. I had a better opinion of it when I finished reading, but still not a book that I would read again. The movie trailer on TV made it seem like a different book, I had to check that it was the same book. I have a feeling it almost will seem like two different stories.

I could see it being used in a Lit class as a required book for discussion.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:18 PM   #4
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When I first heard they were making this film I thought it would be too depressing to watch.

But when I saw the trailer it became clear that the filmmakers have made a different story, emphasizing the mystery. Maybe with this focus it won't be so depressing.

I enjoyed the book in spite of the darkness, but don't know if I'll see the film.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:42 PM   #5
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Warning - spoiler ahead!

I thought the girl finally taking matters into her own hands and bringing about the death of her murderer cheapened the story.

And was it a mystery? I thought the only mystery was why the police were so inept. (Except, their incompetence was needed to advance the plot).

A more thoughtful treatment of life-after-death is: "What Dreams May Come" by Richard Matheson. That book too, has its flaws.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:21 PM   #6
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Karma for you all! My daughter was so happy when I told her she could see the movie. The book is too advanced for her (I thought it was too advanced for me, in some of the more depressing passages). I agree, a lit class shoulc compare and contrast.

I definately won't be seeing it. I was shocked when I saw they were making it into a movie, but obviously they took it in a whole different direction.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:29 PM   #7
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This is a wonderful novel that looks at the meaning of family, grief, and religiosity, among other things.

I taught this to First Year students at the University where I was teaching, and the students uniformly felt the emotional impact of the novel, in addition to the intellectual concerns the novel looks at.

Highly recommended.



Don
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:07 PM   #8
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Karma for you all! My daughter was so happy when I told her she could see the movie. The book is too advanced for her (I thought it was too advanced for me, in some of the more depressing passages). I agree, a lit class shoulc compare and contrast.

I definately won't be seeing it. I was shocked when I saw they were making it into a movie, but obviously they took it in a whole different direction.
You'll have to report back after your daughter sees it, and let us know what she thinks!
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Old 01-19-2010, 01:05 AM   #9
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But when I saw the trailer it became clear that the filmmakers have made a different story, emphasizing the mystery. Maybe with this focus it won't be so depressing.
You really can't trust the trailer. They can put whatever spin they want to on the movie for marketing purposes.
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Old 01-19-2010, 01:10 AM   #10
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I didn't think it was a murder mystery. I just remember it as depressing. As far as I know, she's only written one other book, "Lucky," her memoir published before The Lovely Bones.
...
She has another novel, written after The Lovely Bones, called The Almost Moon:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Almost_Moon

I have not read it.

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:42 AM   #11
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I could see it being used in a Lit class as a required book for discussion.
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This is a wonderful novel that looks at the meaning of family, grief, and religiosity, among other things.

I taught this to First Year students at the University where I was teaching, and the students uniformly felt the emotional impact of the novel, in addition to the intellectual concerns the novel looks at.

Highly recommended.

Don
Yep. I was right. It would be something chosen for a Lit class.

I would probably actively participate in classroom discussion about the book, but it still would not be a book that I would recommend or read again (or even would have bought unless it was required).
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:30 AM   #12
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I liked this book and I'd definitely recommend to others. I didn't feel it was depressing, and it was easy to finish. It was interesting because it was about life after her death. Stories like this are usually told as crime fiction, but this was a completely different viewpoint.

Added: I'm honestly not quite sure why this story would be depressing.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:41 AM   #13
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I didn't find it depressing either (for depressing, I turn to The Road or If This Is A Man). To be honest, I didn't find it all that interesting either, having no empathy with the life-after-death notion.

Saying this, however, I did not actively dislike the book, and if someone said to me the book sounded interesting - that the concept intrigued them - then I'd probably tell them I think they'd find it worth their effort.

Cheers,
Marc
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:23 AM   #14
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One of the questions I posed to my students before we started reading and before I provided them any background information was this:

"What is your view of Heaven?"

Of course, ANY view is respected. The question was provided to get them to think about how/what they feel BEFORE they encounter something that conceivably might be different from their own views.

One of the issues the novel interrogates is the grieving process and the many ways in which we cope with our feelings. In this context, too, the novel is rich and courageous in its views. It's a deeply felt personal journey that we all must face, in whatever context, as we move through life. Yes, it can be deprressing, if one wishes to view it that way.

For me, reading this novel was a positive experience that I cherish. Additionally, in my opinion, the novel is good art - what we call Literature.

I can highly recommend this novel OUTSIDE of academia.


Don

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Old 01-19-2010, 08:39 AM   #15
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Perhaps its portrayal of grief is better as a teaching moment than one of empathy, but, of course, I say this only on the basis of my own singular experience. I had not long lost my father to disease, in a final time both harrowing and somewhat heartening. I was still grieving, into the context of possible disorder. And yet, my empathy to the book's characters merely extended as far as acknowledgement of that grief. Perhaps that is the issue - that its portrayal is better as hindsight rather from within that which it portrays?
As mentioned, it is a book I'd recommend to those interested in the notion (of "heaven"). However, that notion's significant role in the book withdrew much empathy from me.
Whatever one may consider "literature" to be, it is for me and my definitions worthy of such "literary" experience. I can see why it is and will be loved by many people. I am just not one of those people.
Cheers,
Marc
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