Friday, August 14, 2009

Did Sally tell me to read The Lovely Bones?

As I walked to work yesterday morning, anxious to get some last-chance August sun on my skin, I couldn't shake away a thought: Sally wanted me to read The Lovely Bones.

I picked the book off my shelf a week ago. It had been on the Banned Book List, a group of books my college roommates told me not to read after my mom died. It made sense at the time, since it's about a girl who is murdered and watches her family from heaven. But now, 7 years later, I felt ready for it. Since starting, I haven't been able to put it down. On subway rides I am unaware of anything around me, completely engrossed in the pages. In sleep, a murderer haunts my dreams and I try to fight him off with punches and persuasion.

For the past 2 weeks, I've tried to ignore August. I've tried to focus on what's good: my new apartment with Mark, the warm weather that finally arrived after a rainy June and July, the prospect of being a professor in the fall. I've tried to say it's just another month, even though it's the month my mother died. But The Lovely Bones will not let August rest.

In the book, Susie (the girl who was murdered) goes to some kind of afterlife and soon discovers that unless she stops watching her family on Earth, they will continue to be obsessed with her death and finding her murderer. Likewise, she will never reach heaven.

Especially since it's August, and 7 years since my mom died, it makes me wonder about where my family is and where my mom is. Is writing this blog keeping her from reaching heaven? Do I need to cut the strings and let her go, let me go?

Maybe Sally nudged me to pick the book off the shelf. Nothing in August is ever pure coincidence. And even though it's 7 years later, maybe I'm still not equipped to read books like this.

The 19th of August, the anniversary of when she died, is approaching fast. I could use your advice.


  1. Well Marisa, I am thinking of you this month this up coming week....!!! But I have to say that Alice Sebold is a dang good writer.

    I am not a big reader but read Lucky,couldn't put it down. It's about her being raped...strangley I could relate to her rape, not that I have been raped, but by cancer I have...!!! Something completely out of your control...masters your mind like no one else can understand, but I keep on reading. I loved it!!!

    So I guess understanding your connection with a book like so can be real, is real!

    After five years of losing daddy things begin to change of how I felt, the things I did, like go to the cemetary and all. Calculating back now as I type its been about five years since I really stopped going to the cemetary period, I know this because I had not been since my second child was born, she is five, just took her this March to his grave for the first time. So that would make it seven years when I really begin to break free.

    So if your heart is pushing you towards those move ons, then luv, go for them, you master that in your heart, mind, body and soul. It might even feel alittle strange.......hugs to you!!!

    I have Lovely Bones, read the first few chapters, was kinda scary what it was about, but you have me thinking now, I need to put it back on my to read list. She also has The Almost Moon.

  2. Hi Ashley,

    Thanks, as always, for sharing so honestly and being so supportive. Reading your comment this morning while eating breakfast really perked me up. It's always just nice to not be alone in this.

    I haven't read Lucky yet (I think that was also a Banned Book), but if I can get through The Lovely Bones, maybe I'll read Lucky in a few months.

    Hope you're having a great day and feeling happy.


  3. The trailer to the movie...