What is the plot of "The Lovely Bones"?


Quick Answer

The plot of Alice Sebold's 2002 novel "The Lovely Bones" involves the rape and murder of 14-year-old Susie Salmon, who watches over her family, friends and killer from the afterlife. Peter Jackson's 2009 film adaptation has a similar plot to the book, though it omits many of the grisly details.

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Full Answer

Susie Salmon is raped and murdered by her family's neighbor, George Harvey. When she goes to heaven, she realizes that she can observe her family. She watches her parents, Jack and Abigail, and her siblings, Lindsey and Buckley, as they deal with Susie's murder.

The book also follows a girl named Ruth Connors, who was touched by Susie's soul as it left the earth. She attends a camp for gifted children with Lindsey and Lindsey's boyfriend, Samuel. Eventually, Ruth befriends Susie's former crush, Ray Singh.

Susie also observes George Harvey and can see into his troubled childhood. Though Lindsey and Jack Salmon become suspicious of Harvey's guilt, he leaves town before he can be caught. Later, Susie sees him die by falling into a ravine. Her other observations include her mother's affair with the detective who worked on her case, her father's heart attack, and Lindsey and Samuel's eventual marriage.

The film version of "The Lovely Bones" omits the rape scene and many darker details from the book. It covers fewer years in the characters' lives and focuses less on Ruth, Ray, Lindsey and Samuel. In the film, Susie meets her killer's other victims in heaven.

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