The Novel “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold

Purpose: The report outline below seeks to inform about grief and how things can get back to normal after losing a loved one in the novel, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

Summary of Novel and Research Content: The Lovely Bones by Alice narrates about a teenage girl who was murdered after having been raped by her neighbor, leaving her friends and family with difficulties to keep going due to her death. This paper examines the strategies for dealing with grief and getting back to normal, such as coaching and counseling. The goal of these tactics focuses on achieving the best potential, self-actualization, emphasizing self-growth, responsibility, self-will, and enhancing goodness in people as subtopics.

Coaching and Counseling: In The Lovely Bones, counseling and coaching play a significant role in dealing with grief as they both facilitate recovery from the loss and moving on with life after losing a loved one. Family and friends are affected by the loss of the teenage girl, failing to move on with life. Counselling provides them with an avenue to discuss their feeling enabling them to find out ways of easing the grieving process (Tan & Andriessen). This is the best way of recovering from grief due to loss.

Focus on Achieving the Best Potential: While it can be difficult to think about anything else apart from the person that has deceased, it is of utmost importance to focus on self-improvement. Achieving one’s best potential allows the person to not only be distracted from the overpowering feeling of loss but to discover the motivation required to push through the mental issues (“How Long Does Grief Last?”). It can be infuriating to keep experiencing grief after what might think has been enough time to overcome it, but the time needed to heal is different for everyone. Below is the graph representation of how long one might think they need to heal as opposed to how long they will actually need:

Healing times

Self-Actualization and Responsibility: Self-actualization is critical for recovering from a loss in The Lovely Bones. It is important for the persons affected to create an independent persona that is separate from the person that they lost (Ann). This enables the family and friends to reconstruct their meaning, belief system and accept themselves after the loss. Often one of the most difficult parts of dealing with the loss of a loved one is having to take on extra responsibilities (Tan & Andriessen). Whether the person affected by the death was a minor or a partner, or otherwise related to the deceased, it can be difficult but nevertheless rewarding to take on extra responsibilities.

Emphasizing Self-Growth: In The Lovely Bones, emphasis on self-growth helps family and friends to understand that there is life after losing a loved one, thereby giving them the courage to move on to achieve more through self-growth. Personal growth allows people to be in touch with their feelings and emotions and ultimately helps them understand and cope with loss and grief (“Grief: Coping with reminders after a loss”). It can be difficult to deal with all the changes and emotions alone, so it is crucial to be surrounded by positive people. Being surrounded by good-natured people has a positive effect on mental health not only short-term but in the long run, as mutually beneficial relationships develop (Ann). Similarly, in The Lovely Bones, the characters feel more fulfilled and motivated to fight through their grief when surrounded by positive people.

Works Cited

Ann, Julie. “Learning To Be Happy Again After A Loss.” Everyday Health, 2017, Web.

“How Long Does Grief Last?” Sue Ryder, Web.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Grief: Coping with Reminders After a Loss.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), Web.

Tan, Jovita, and Karl Andriessen. “The Experiences of Grief and Personal Growth in University Students: A Qualitative Study.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 18,4 1899.

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Premium Papers. (2023, January 9). The Novel "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold. Retrieved from


Premium Papers. (2023, January 9). The Novel "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold.

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"The Novel "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold." Premium Papers, 9 Jan. 2023,


Premium Papers. (2023) 'The Novel "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold'. 9 January.


Premium Papers. 2023. "The Novel "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold." January 9, 2023.

1. Premium Papers. "The Novel "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold." January 9, 2023.


Premium Papers. "The Novel "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold." January 9, 2023.