This book has been sat on my bookshelf for a while desperately wanting to be read, the film came out and I managed to avoid watching it as I wanted to make sure I'd read the book first. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when reading the book, part of the reason for having left it on my to-read shelf was because I knew of sadness this book held.
When reading this book I came to realise that actually it is not overtaken by a brutal murder and rape but by a family learning to deal with what has happened. It highlights the many different ways that people cope with grief and highlights positive characteristics within different family members. The sweet and loving Dad who is so determined to find the killer, a grandmother who for all her faults is there for her remaining Grandchildren with every bone in her body. Siblings who struggle to come to terms with the fact that their sister isn't coming home and a Mom who is left an empty shell.
The story is heart-warming, touching and incredibly emotional. You may think that you can't read past the beginning, I certainly closed the book pretty sharpish, but you have to go back, Sebold artfully encourages you to read more as you hold on to the hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I would highly recommend this book, but be prepared and make sure you have lots of tissues.