The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold churns most reader’s stomachs whenever they pick up and read the first page, let alone chapter; it is purely because of the subject matter, a young girl barely in her teens is raped and murdered by her neighbour. Although I did find the subject matter very difficult, I saw over all of that and continued to give the book a chance. It is something outside of the genre I would usually read, but as I read on, I realised that actually, this book deserves to be noted as a fantasy novel rather than a crime one which most people assume it to be.
When you overcome the violence and the graphicness of this novel you will come to realise that it is a beautiful story about a young dead girl coming to terms with her own death and trying to let her living family go. Until she lets them go in her heart, they cannot stop grieving, she is the key to how much they grieve or not – the more she clings onto the living the less likely they are to heal quickly from their loss of her.
This is a lesson that Susie Salmon is learning throughout the entire novel, as well as realising that her little experience of heaven is only the beginning of what is beyond that mysterious door she keeps seeing. It is a story about Susie’s observations of the living, including the life of her murderer Mr. Harvey and her adventures in the limbo heaven with other murdered victims. How they are trying to use their imagination to create a world in which they want to be in, whilst dead.
The mysterious door can only be opened to Susie once she decides to move on and try not to think and worry too much about the living, when the door is opened, she can in effect find peace. Perhaps she gets reincarnated? Perhaps she goes to true heaven? Nobody knows, but it would be lovely to think of it in such terms. That is why I find the book is beautiful. Forget the violence; forget the sordidness, just read the book to the end. It is a treasure; it is in my top ten favourites of all time. It is very touching and there is justice in this book, though it is very obscure and indirect.
The facts in the case of the departure of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman
“The facts in the case of the departure of Miss Finch” was familiar to me in the sense that the scenery set was very alike to an old Hammer Horror movie I am very fond of called “The Vampire Circus”; though I am not suggesting that this story is a breach of copy-right, merely that the scenery was similar, for example; the movie was about a vampire count who fell in love with a local school-teacher and got her delivering her young pupils occasionally for his dietary needs, eventually she was discovered by her husband delivering a child and the vampire executed in the usual fashion and the woman outcast from the village. She was told formerly by the count that if they were ever discovered that she could contact a cousin of his on the other side of the country who were a traveling night time circus that advertises mesmerism; during the killing of the count, the count had threatened the lynch mob that if he should die, then so should all the children of the village. Many years past and the traveling night circus came and sought revenge for their cousin in the most innovative ways imaginable.
Some of their first victims were visitors of the circus; they entered a tent where they saw various acts and a hall of mirrors only for them never to return to their families alive. Though primarily the movie was about the circus seeking revenge, most of the other victims were seduced into giving up their lives, it was the burgomaster that died in the tent under suspicious circumstances; but because he was so incredibly fat, people presumed the fun and laughter of the hall of mirrors had caused him to succumb to a heart attack.
Similar acts happened in Neil Gaiman’s story, very captivating in more ways than one and a delight for me to read, particularly as not only was it so very similar to my most favorite Hammer Horror movie, but it was also read within a week of me finishing “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern and “Emerald Star” by Jacqueline Wilson, which oddly enough have mesmerism and circus’s in their themes too – reading all was a fluke.
I do love stories that have carnival and circus themes to them, another story I read months before I read this Neil Gaiman classic was “The man in the picture” by Susan Hill.
Blood stained clothing I wear for eternity; blood of my victims churn inside of me:
The hungers that exist and cannot hide form me.
I wish there was something better than this.
A monster I am that prowls the night in search of a victim who I can kill with a bite; to drain them of life and – of their blood supply so my thirst can quench for just another night.
Blood stained my clothing of a thousand years.
A dead creature is I, in my heart and in my mind.
For I forget the feelings of mercy and the feelings of woe, but now I have killed so much-those are things I have forgotten to know!
No longer human in heart or mind, a creature of the dark who is cruel and emotionally blind.
I kill with great ease my human meals and dine on their life’s blood from their neck with their squeals!
Their bodies flop down as I take them away from this world they have begun to know; and fill their loved ones with a gallon of woe.
Each night and when my meal is done, I go off back to my grave and sleep so numb.
Till the dusk has arrived then I come out to play, to take another human away.