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Is The Lovely Bones based on a true story?

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janetted | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 22, 2011 at 6:19 PM via web

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Is The Lovely Bones based on a true story?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 22, 2011 at 6:59 PM (Answer #1)

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I have included a link below to the enotes page outlining the biography of Alice Sebold, which should help you investigate her life further. The short answer to this question is that yes, it was. It is always difficult to trace how much fiction is impacted by fact or real events, but a fundamental event that occurred in the author's own life was when she was raped and beaten. Later it emerged that the man that raped her had raped and killed a girl before her in Norristown in Philadelphia. Other elements that are derived from this true event are the corn field, which is still used as a short cut by kids who attend Norristown High.

Apart from this basis in fact, the rest of the story is made up. The story does however raise interesting questions about the relationship between fact and fiction. Is it possible to write a story convincingly about such a traumatic event if you have not experienced it yourself? To what extent is writing a kind of therapy for the author?

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