The Lovely Bones Study Guide

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Plot summary The novel begins with an anecdote, used as an epigraph, in which Susie recalls her father amusing her as a child by shaking a snow globe with a small penguin inside all by himself. When she worries about the penguin, he says, "Don't worry, Susie. He's got a nice life. He's trapped inside a perfect world." In the opening sentences, Susie introduces herself to us and takes us to the date of her death, December 6, 1973, "before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons and in the daily mail ... when people believed things like that didn't happen." At dusk, with a light snow falling, she takes a shortcut back home across a small cornfield from her junior high school to her home in Norristown, Pennsylvania,…show more content…
Jack and Lindsey between them hatch a plan in which Lindsey will sneak into Mr. Harvey's house during soccer practice and possibly find any evidence within that would link Mr. Harvey to the murder. She finds a drawing of the pit and is forced to leave when Mr. Harvey returns prematurely. Mr. Harvey manages to explain it to the police as his own attempt to solve the murder but realizes afterwards that he must leave Norristown as soon as possible. Susie, watching this from afar, begins to understand that she was not Mr. Harvey's first victim (something she has already explained to the reader) and that he is a serial killer who has killed women young and old going as far back as 1959. As Lindsey explores Mr. Harvey's basement, the names and deaths of his other victims become known to Susie. Afterwards, back in heaven, Franny gives Susie a map to a cornfield which disappears as soon as a small path appears. Susie follows it to a tree where she meets Mr. Harvey's other victims. She looks into Mr. Harvey's past and sees a small boy whose mother was an incorrigible kleptomaniac who stole from dead bodies and ultimately abandoned him. On the first anniversary of Susie's death, the neighbors and almost all the main characters gather in an impromptu ceremony in the cornfield to light candles and sing old Irish ballads in her memory. Jack organises these each year following, though fewer and fewer people attend. In the wake of Lindsey's breaking in to

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