This book is about a 14 year-old girl named Susie Salmon who is raped and murdered during the first chapter of this book. She spends the rest of the book in her version of heaven, watching the family and friends she left behind. She even checks in on the man who raped and murdered her.
As with most novels that deal with a tragedy, the family struggles to stick together. Of course there is the whole cliche of a mother who freaks out and has an affair and eventually runs away. The other kids in the family seem to resent their dead sister because they feel they will always be overshadowed and defined by her tragic death.
I've noticed that people either really love or really hate this book. I don't hate or love this book (that's why I gave it 2 stars). It's an interesting story that could have been REALLY good but it seems to me that Alice Sebold didn't seem to know where she was going with the storyline so she took it in several different directions (most of which didn't seem to pan out or were just plain weird), until she got bored and gave up.
Anyway, I didn't hate this book because I can see that Alice Sebold was trying to convey an important and beautiful message. It is a shame that she wasn't able to do so. Or rather, she did but she had so much going on that it was quite easy to overlook the purpose of the whole story. This book could have been 200 pages shorter, at least.