From the USA Today Bestselling author of The Ghosts who Raised Me comes the contemporary coming of age duet about growing up in a funeral home beginning with Pretty Bones. It’s complicated. Marlow has always been fascinated with bones. To her, they’re no big thing and everything. Bones are things that everybody has – even the dead. Yet, they’re responsible for most of her problems.The daughter of a mortician, Marlow has spent enough time with the cold bodies in the funeral home to be comfortable with the dead. In fact, the stiffs in the viewing room downstairs are some of her awkwardly-mute best friends. She certainly doesn’t have many of those at school. Not with her condition.But things are about to change.Tired of the daily scene at Kennedy High School, Marlow looks forward to her next bone density test where she’ll finally get answers about her condition. There, she hopes to learn more about idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis and the strand of it she has. With the right answers, she just knows the dead can help her. They have to. It’s not like they can object.It’s simple. Marlow has a plan.What happens when the living and the dead collide?Will the pretty bones be enough to change a life?
Pretty Bones is a novella that follows the life of a young woman named Marlow as she questions her meaning in life, whether or not she can truly live, and her rare bone disease.
On the surface, I wasn’t expecting to be so emotionally impacted by Pretty Bones. In fact, for the story itself, I’m not. It’s the other content next to Marlow’s own questions and life that had me thinking. I actually had to put the book down for a few days, maybe only reading a few pages at a time. It’s because I was having panic attacks.
To clarify, I understand that it is irrational and that having panic attacks over cold hard facts is almost too silly to comprehend. I recognize it. However, it doesn’t change the fact that it happens. If anything, it only proved to me more that the aspect of dying . . . no, I mean the end result of death, scares me.
Pretty Bones is written in a way where you get the facts behind a funeral home. At first glance, this can seem to push out the main part of the story, but when thinking how much the funeral world is so closely ingrained in Marlow, it begins to make sense. That said, it is the facts that had me.
I could go into depth about my own personal issues and I probably will in a regular blog post, but not for the review. To see my own fears and life, just check out the blog.
Anyways, as I mentioned before, the book is written with the bulk of the facts about the funeral business with small vignettes of Marlow’s day to day life. I personally didn’t have a problem with having that information in the narrative and in fact, it didn’t bother me when I could set aside my emotional brain. That said, there were parts in the book itself I wish happened more.
There is a person mentioned in the book. She’s dead, but her manner of death is mentioned. I realize that we don’t always get an answer and I have a feeling that is what Lee’s intention was, it just bums me out that we don’t get that resolution behind her death. There is also a moment where Marlow is invited to go to a teen safe space with a classmate. I would have liked to have seen that.
I think, I would have liked to see Marlow’s life more. That said, I recognize what was being done here. Erin Lee was trying to show how a “life” can take control of a person’s “living”. We all end up in the same place, but not everyone can say they truly lived. And I think that is what Erin Lee is getting at with Marlow’s story.
She is telling us that we need to stop worrying about death. Stop worrying about our day to day life and responsibilities. Instead, we need to find little adventures in our life and actually live. So, yeah, when you really sit down and think about it, the story means something more than just hard cold facts.
Unless I’m reading too much into it. But, I like my thoughts on it.
All in all, I would read more of Erin Lee’s work.
Final Rating: 3/5