Reading Questions for The Lovely Bones
10. Why does Abigail leave her dead daughter's photo outside the Chicago airport on her way back to her family?
11. Susie observes that "The living deserve attention, too." She watches her sister, Lindsay, being neglected as those around her focus all their attention on grieving for Susie. Jack refuses to allow Buckley to use Susie's clothes in his garden. When is it time to let go?
12. Susie's heaven seems to have different stages, and climbing to the next stage of heaven requires her to remove herself from what happens on Earth. What is this process like for Susie?
13. In The Lovely Bones , adult relationships (Abigail and Jack, Ray's parents) are dysfunctional and troubled, whereas the young relationships (Lindsay and Samuel, Ray and Susie, Ray and Ruth) all seem to have depth, maturity and potential. What is the author saying about young love? About the trials and tribulations of married life?
14. Is Jack Salmon allowing himself to be swallowed up by his grief? Is there a point where he should have let go? How does his grief process affect his family? Is there something admirable about holding on so tightly to Susie's
memory and not denying his profound sadness?
15. Ray and Susie's final physical experience (via Ruth's body) seems to act almost as an exorcism that sweeps away, if only temporarily, Susie's memory of her rape. What is the significance of this act for Susie, and does it serve to counterbalance the violent act that ended Susie's life?
16. Alice Sebold seems to be saying that out of tragedy comes healing. Susie's family fractures and comes back together; a town learns to find strength in each other. Do you agree that good can come of great trauma?