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A major social issue that is present in Sebold's The Lovely Bones is the manifestation of grief and loss. Susie's disappearance and death is obviously a tragedy for her family and friends, but afterwards they must all deal with her murder. Susie's parents Jack and Abigail have a particularly difficult time doing this, which to an extent is understandable; however, there are other children in the house who need parental care. This calls into question the responsibility that parents have to their children, particularly when challenged by other factors. Jack becomes almost obsessed with finding Susie's killer and piecing together possible scenarios takes over his life. On the other hand, Abigail becomes increasingly withdrawn from the family and ends up having an affair and temporarily abandoning her family. These parents have the right to grieve for their daughter, but they must realize that their other children still need them. Lindsey, Susie's sister, does the best job dealing with Susie's death. She is able to move on with her life while still remembering the good times she had with Susie.
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