Study Guide

The Lovely Bones Love

By Alice Sebold

Love

Chapter 2
Susie Salmon

My mother had been the one who knew the meaning of every charm on my bracelet – where we had gotten it and why I like it. She made a meticulous list of what I'd carried and worn. (2.47)

This intimate knowledge of the details of her daughter makes us feel Abigail's love for Susie. It also pleases Susie to no end, because she's in the phase of her ghosthood where being remembered and talking about is very important.

Yes, he had written Susie Salmon a love note. Yes, he had put it in her notebook […]. (2.100)

What a bitter pill! Susie doesn't even get to read her very first love note before she dies.

Chapter 3
Susie Salmon

He christened the walls and wooden chair with the news of my death, and afterwards he stood in the guest room/den surrounded by green glass. (3.64)

Here Jack is shattering the ships in the bottles that Susie used to help him complete. His anger is an expression of his love, and he is afterwards able to see Susie's projected image in the glass.

He nodded 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. (3.70)

This tender moment occurs just days after Susie's death. Throughout the novel, father and son are there for each other, though they have a few rough patches.

Chapter 17

He had been falling in love all over again. (17.67)

We doubt Jack ever fell out of love with Abigail. But looking at the pictures of his wife, candid photos Susie took of her, really makes an impact. In these photos, Jack sees through to the deeper Abigail, and this new understanding spawns this renewed love.

They had gone the week before to get haircuts at the same barber shop […] and though Lindsey's hair was lighter and finer than Samuel's, the barber had given them identical short, spiky cuts. (17.8)

Isn't that the cutest thing! Samuel and Lindsey's are almost too romantic to be believed. They make it look easy, but they've worked hard for what they have.

Samuel Heckler

"No, I mean I love you, and I want to marry you, and I want to live in this house!" (17.75)

Another intensely romantic moment, conceived expressly for brightening Susie's day up in heaven. Seeing that her sister is having a happy life helps her let go of Earth.

Chapter 19
Susie Salmon

He had been keeping, daily, weekly, yearly, an underground storage room of hate. Deep inside this, the four-year-old sat, his heart flashing. Heart to stone, heart to stone. (19.65)

It's the moment of Buckley's mother's return – a moment where love and hate blend for intense emotional impact on the part of the readers and, of course, for Buckley himself.

Chapter 20

How could it be that you love someone so much and keep it a secret from yourself as you woke daily so far from home? (20.30)

Abigail realizes she's been blocking off her love for Jack. It takes the literal breaking, or at least attacking of his heart to reveal her true feelings.

Chapter 22
Susie Salmon

I had taken this time to fall in love […] – in love with the sort of helplessness I had not felt in death – the helplessness of being alive, the dark bright pity of being human. (22.146)

Susie is so darn wise and articulate now. She so sums up the old human condition. Our fragility leaves us open to the best and worst of human experience.

Epilogue: Bones
Susie Salmon

Samuel walked out to Lindsey then, and there she was in his arms […] born ten years after my fourteen years on Earth: Abigail Suzanne, little Susie to me. (Epilogue.33)

The crowning symbol of love for Susie, a new Susie!

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