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Reading - The Lovely Bones Summary for Upper Intermediate Level

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Today's lesson is by Caroline

A really important part of learning a language is reading. This can be done inside and outside the classroom and as a huge bookworm I strongly recommend visiting your library and doing some extra reading!

Here is a summary of one of my favourite books, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Can you put the paragraphs in the correct order? Just put a number by each paragraph from one to seven. After you've completed this exercise, it would be great to hear from you about some English books you’ve read. Or, if you're more of a movie person, why not check out the new movie adaptation of this book...



The Lovely Bones

A. George Harvey, Susie's killer, is also watched by Susie. In heaven, Susie meets and learns the stories of all of his victims. She sees Harvey hide her body, lie to her father and the police, and run from the crimes he has committed. Susie wants to help the living apprehend her killer, but can only watch as the police and her family try to gather evidence and find her murderer.

B. Susie follows her sister Lindsey's life from heaven. Lindsey experiences major life milestones witnessed vicariously by Susie. Susie cannot herself grow up, but can have a basic understanding of the process by watching her sister. She watches as Lindsey grows into a strong young woman who also shares her father’s determination to find Susie's killer. Lindsey learns from Grandma Lynn the name of the man her father believes killed Susie. Lindsey begins watching Harvey's house, committing his schedule to her memory, and waiting for her opportunity.

C. The narrator of The Lovely Bones, Susie Salmon, is a normal fourteen year-old girl. She has just received her first kiss and is looking forward to going to high school next year. She is on her way home from school when she is stopped by a man who wants to show her something in the cornfield. Susie thinks she can trust this man because he is a neighbour who knows her parents. Unfortunately, this man, George Harvey, is a serial killer who rapes and murders Susie.

D. Family members are not the only people affected by Susie's death. Ray Singh, the first and only boy Susie kisses, is at first a suspect. He is quickly ruled out by police, by remains haunted by the memory of Susie's death. Ruth Connors, an unpopular girl in Susie's class, is also impacted by Susie's death. She is the last person Susie touches as her spirit leaves Earth. As a result, Ruth becomes obsessed with death and even begins seeing the dead on Earth. Ray and Ruth become forever linked in their shared grief and understanding.

E. Through the experiences of the Salmon family in The Lovely Bones, readers can examine their own feelings and reactions to loss and mourning. Can something good come from a horrible tragedy? Can healing come from a place of tremendous violence and despair?

F. The Salmon family is forever changed as a result of Susie's murder. Susie watches as her parents drift apart and her siblings and friends grow up and have experiences Susie can only witness. Her mother, Abigail, wants to run away from her feelings, whereas her father, Jack, wants to confront those feelings head on. Jack Salmon, unsatisfied with Len Fenerman's investigation, begins his own investigation of Susie's murder. This investigation leads Jack to suspect George Harvey. However, police cannot arrest Harvey because there is no evidence linking Harvey to Susie.

G. Susie is quickly taken to heaven, where she meets Holly, her guide in the afterlife. Heaven can be whatever she wants, and Susie chooses to create her heaven in the image of her hometown high school. However, the only thing Susie truly wants is to be back on Earth, growing up with the people she loves. This is the one thing Susie cannot have in heaven, but there is one way Susie can keep up with her family. From heaven, Susie can look down and watch her family as they struggle with their own feelings about her murder.


Taken from Wikisummaries Link: The Lovely Bones

Link: Upper Intermediate - Malcolm X Crime Reading

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