The Lovely Bones Characters
by Alice Sebold

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The Lovely Bones Characters

(Literary Newsmakers for Students)


Clarissa is Susie's best friend. Her clandestine meeting in the cornfield with her boyfriend, Brian, leads to Brian's attack on Jack.

Ruth Connors

Ruth, the girl Susie inadvertently brushes against as the she departs earth, is artistic and poetic with a feminist sensibility, existing on the fringes of junior high and high school society. She moves to New York after graduation, living a bohemian life of writing poetry, communing with Susie, and recording in her journal the deaths of women and children, deaths that she sees in dreams and visions. Because of her psychic connection to the spirit of murdered women and children, Ruth provides the means for Susie to revisit earth and consummate her relationship with Ray. Ruth also develops and maintains a strong friendship with Ray.

Detective Len Fenerman

Len Fenerman is the lead detective on Susie's murder case. A small but tenacious man, Fenerman believes that he will find Susie's killer. He understands the horror of unexplained death, as his wife committed suicide. Fenerman carries Susie's picture, as well as the pictures of victims of unsolved murder cases, in his wallet. Although he knows that he should not give in to his feelings for Abigail, he eventually begins an affair with her. Because of his cautiousness regarding Harvey, Susie's killer, Fenerman fails to arrest him. This failure haunts the detective, and he must bear the guilt of his decisions.


Franny, a social worker on earth, is Susie's intake counselor in heaven. She also serves as a surrogate mother.

George Harvey

George Harvey, a thirty-six-year-old single man, is a serial killer who rapes and murders Susie. Although considered odd by his neighbors, Harvey does not draw attention to himself. He builds dollhouses and possesses a fascination with buildings. Taught to steal by his mother and then abandoned by her, and raised by a tyrannical father, Harvey lacks both a conscience and social skills. He fits the profile of a sociopath, reliving the murders in his mind, deriving intense pleasure from the killings, and taking trophies from his victims. When Lindsey breaks into his house and takes evidence linking him to Susie's murder, Mr. Harvey's ordered world begins to disintegrate. He leaves town, eventually coming back determined to kill Lindsey, but a combination of circumstances prevent him from doing so.

Hal Heckler

Hal is Samuel's older brother. He rides and repairs motorcycles. After Harvey's disappearance, Hal uses his network of biker friends to search for him. Hal eventually passes on some key information to Detective Fenerman.

Samuel Heckler

Samuel is Lindsey's childhood sweetheart and eventually marries her. Samuel helps Lindsey cope with her sister's death, her mother's abandonment, and her father's heart attack. Samuel, along with his brother, Hal, becomes an integral part of the Salmon family. He and Hal treat Buckley, Lindsey's little brother, like their own brother. Samuel loves carpentry and restoring old houses, a passion that he turns into a career. This passion for fixing broken and battered things parallels his ability to alleviate Lindsey's pain, name Jack's overprotectiveness, and deflect Buckley's anger.


Holly is Susie's roommate in heaven. Although she and Susie share much of their heaven, Holly also has a heaven to which Susie has no access. Holly helps Susie understand heaven.

Grandma Lynn

Grandma Lynn, Susie's grandmother and Abigail's mother, is eccentric, colorful and drinks too much. Prior to Susie's murder, her visits to the Salmon's upended routines and delighted her grandchildren. Not overly motherly, Lynn has a strained relationship with her daughter. When Abigail leaves, Lynn provides the stability that keeps the family together. She helps Lindsey grow into womanhood, and she helps Buckley negotiate his anger and hurt.

Brian Nelson

Brian is Clarissa's boyfriend. He beats Mr. Salmon with a baseball bat when he mistakenly thinks that Susie's father is attacking Clarissa in the...

(The entire section is 1,951 words.)