The Well Written Rape

Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones probably sat on everyone's shelves untouched as other more interesting looking books passed the readers eyes first. I can tell you that was the case with me. I always saw something that I thought looked better, more interesting, more what I was in the mood know. I had no idea what I was missing.

Sebold’s writing is a masterful handling of this delicate art. The rape and murder of a young girl is something that must be done so carefully. The reader must witness her pain; the writer must flesh out the sensations but not so much as to be smothering. You must have enough pain, embarrassment, helplessness, powerlessness and fear to make it real, yet refrain from taking to the complete truth, which is a violence we can’t handle.

Sebold crafts this key scene with a care and precision that makes you know you can trust her; that she will be taking you somewhere real. Very often authors create something and hope that readers will embrace it, allow this story in. But Sebold created a world that allows the reader in. This gift is so rare and the distinction between the two so hard to make, that very few are recognized for being able to do this.

Her prose is beautiful, the story compelling, but the thing that rises strongest from this work is Sebold's talent. Quiet and unassuming, it envelops and draws you in. And when you reach the end, the hold that was placed upon you, completely unawares, is broken. As it slowly dissipates, a quiet satisfaction settles in.

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This work by H.E. Saunders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.