The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Chapter 3
Written by Katlyn
Edited by Krystal

The odd thing about dying and going to heaven was bumping into living people on the way and for Susie it was Ruth Connors. Susie and Ruth were not close, but as Susie floated away she reached her hand out to the Ruth’s cheek, the last connection to Earth she’d ever have.

On December seventh, Ruth complained to her mother about having a dream where a pale ghost appeared before her. Of course, Mrs. Connors didn’t believe Ruth and so she shut up and wrote her thoughts down in poetry instead. When Susie was discovered missing, Ruth became obsessed with Susie and went through yearbooks, collecting anything to do with Susie. Susie became wary of Ruth and avoided watching her until one day when Ruth ran into Clarissa and Brian Nelson kissing in the hall; later Clarissa’s locker was burgled by Ruth, who took a bunch of photos of Susie, a scrapbook, and a stash of Brian’s marijuana. That evening Ruth got high in her family’s tool shed.

Read the rest of this chapter summary HERE.

Memorable Quotes:

Susie: The odd thing about Earth was what we saw when we looked down. Besides the initial view that you might expect, the old ants-from-the-skyscraper phenomenon, there were souls leaving bodies all over the world. (Page 40)

Susie: When I streaked by her, my hand leapt out to touch her, touch the last face, feel the last connection to Earth in this not-so-standard-issue teenage girl. (Page 41)

Susie: “I can’t help thinking of my mother,” I said.
Franny took my left hand in both of hers and smiled.
I wanted to kiss her lightly on the cheek or have her hold me, but instead I watched her walk off in front of me, saw her blue dress trail away. I knew that she was not my mother; I could not play pretend. (Page 46)

Susie: “Ocean Eyes,” my father called her when he wanted one of her chocolate-covered cherries, which she kept hidden in the liquor cabinet as her private treat. And now I understood the name. I had thought it was because they were blue, but now I saw it was because they were bottomless in a way that I found frightening. (Page 48)

Susie: She had seen the photos right after. My mother looking tired but smiling. My mother and Holiday standing in front of the dogwood tree as the sun shot through her robe and gown. But I had wanted to be the only one in the house that knew my mother was also someone else – someone mysterious and unknown to us.” (Page 50)

Jack Salmon: “You are so special to me, little man,” my father said, clinging to him.
Susie: Buckley drew back and stared at my father’s creased face, the fine bright spots of tears at the corners of his eyes. He nodded seriously and kissed my father’s cheek. Something so divine that no one up in heaven could have made it up; the care a child took with an adult. (Page 53)

Susie: My father draped the sheets around Buckley’s shoulders and remembered how I would fall out of the hall four-poster bed and onto the rug, never waking up. (Page 53)

Susie: I watched my brother and my father. The truth was very different from what we learned in school. The truth was that the line between the living and the dead could be, it seemed, murky and blurred. (Page 54)

Questions for discussion:

What do you think about the way Ruth reacted to Susie touching her? Do you think that was a normal reaction or a testament to how different Ruth is from others?

Now that Susie has accidently communicated with her father, do you think she’s going to try and do it again with him or others?

Do you think that Susie’s little brother Buckley understands anything that is going on?

Read and discuss more HERE.