This novel, by Alice Sebold, is a delight to read! It is yet again a fresh look at the relationship between the Spirit dimension and our earth.
The story begins with the horrific rape and murder of a teenage girl by a psychopathic neighbour. So, admittedly, the book has a difficult beginning. But after a chapter or two, the remainder of the book details the recollections of the girl, Susie, as she learns to navigate the afterlife. She keeps track of her family and friends on earth as they seek each in their own way to deal with the grief of her death. She seeks to send them messages. Some on earth sense her; others don’t.
The entire story is told in a rather light-hearted way. It is not a “heavy” story at all, even given the unimaginably horrible beginning. It follows the main characters through the first eight years following Susie’s death.
The truths shared through the incredibly insightful story-telling gifts of the author are timely and truly in keeping with the truths I myself have been learning of the afterlife. One, the Spirit dimension is experienced by each person in their own way. No one experiences death and the life in between lives in the same way. These varying perceptions, rather than undermining the truths about this dimension, in my mind solidify the idea of the care and love experienced in the Spirit world. We are given precisely that which we need to process and heal from whatever experiences we have been through in our life. We are given only that which we are prepared to handle. “Heaven” is not going to overwhelm us. It is a place we go to learn, to grow, to heal, to reach out to others, to seek to help those we love, etc.
Another truth Alice Sebold teaches us through her story is that “heaven” is light-hearted. It is a place filled with fun and laughter. We, as eternal souls, will continue to experience emotions. But we will learn to enjoy and have fun with the experience of being in that other dimension. There is no judgement as the Church tends to teach. There is guidance, suggestions, advice, all in the spirit of learning, assisting us in our personal growth. But no judgement, only pure acceptance, total and unconditional.
Another truth consistent with what I already have learned of the other dimension is that our contact and ability to intervene from that plane to this material plane is limited. We in physical form are continually surrounded by those who love us and who look out for our well-being. But they can only do so much. We can aide them by reaching out to them, giving them permission to enter our consciousness and understanding. But we on earth are here to live our lives and learn the lessons we incarnated for. The souls who surround us can only stand by while we make our mistakes.
Once again, I was blown away by the gifted story-telling of Alice Sebold. The story is so filled with love and laughter and acceptance, people growing through terrible circumstances, people stumbling through life, picking themselves up and carrying on, making mistakes, making things worse before they get better, but each in their own way struggling through the most unimaginable events and getting through it.
This is a highly recommended read: for anyone, whether you are facing heartache, or just want a great story to read and laugh and cry through!!!