The story is told by Susie Salmon, who is 14 and will always be 14, as she was raped and killed by a neighbor. She is telling her story from her heaven as she watches over her family, friends and murderer, and follows them over the years after her death.
It's grim and yet it's beautiful, it's sensitively felt and beautifully written. It is a story of life and love, lives shaken, love broken, love found, healing love. It depicts the endurance of life and love, in spite of the traumas that you thought shattered you for ever. The characters will haunt you, as Sebold made them made real, flesh, blood and bones, never choosing the easy way of cliches but instead acknowledging the mix of good and weak in everyone and beautifully rendering how struggling is ultimately only human.
My stomach still hurts...
"I would lay those photographs down in my mind, those gathered from my constant watching, and i could trace how one thing - my death - connected these images to a single source. No one could have predicted how my loss would change small moments on Earth. But i held on to those moments, hoarded them. None of them were lost as long as i was watching."