The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.
After watching the film adaptation on my long-haul flight from Australia to England in 2010, I told my partner that I thought the movie was great in concept but kind of a let down in execution. It was visually amazing, but I didn’t really ‘get’ it. Something was missing. I told him I wanted to read the book in hopes that it was simply an adaptation oversight.
The book is absolutely incredible.
After the very first chapter (detailing Susie’s rape and murder, which is NOT a spoiler because it’s all about Susie watching her family from ‘Heaven’) I put it down and had a cry. I was so touched by the very powerful yet subtle writing, and the horrendous act Susie endures, that I needed lots of cuddles and a good few days before I could pick it up again.
I do love this book, but I approached the movie as a sort of ‘when is the bad guy going to die’ kind of thing. So I was disappointed by it. But i had faith in the book. By the time I’d read the book, I’d realised that ‘the lovely bones’ were in fact not Susie’s, but the bones her family grows to stay together, grow, and move on after her murder.
No other book has brought me to tears within the very first chapter.