I’ve always loved diving into stories and imagining myself in the plot. One of my favorite stories is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. In the context of today’s “Me Too” movement, the story has a greater impact on me today than before. I wish I could change so much of the story, I wish the story had a happy ending. Thankful I can make one.
Just as a warning, some spoilers are ahead.
Just to recap, the story took place in December 1973, and 14-year-old Susie Salmon was on her way home from school. Her 36-year-old neighbor George Harvey, saw her and persuaded her to look at his underground den. He proceeded to rape, murder, then dismember her body, before he discarded her remains into a sinkhole. The Salmons, especially the father struggled to cope with her murder and find justice for her. Harvey eventually evaded justice by fleeing town. But he got his cosmic justice when an icicle fell and hit his shoulder, causing him to literally fall off a cliff.
My ending of the story goes a little differently. My ending picks up with Lindsey Salmon, Susie’s little sister. Lindsay wanted to help her father prove Harvey’s guilt, so she stalked him for days to get his habits down. When she saw that he left his home, for his routine walk in the park, she sprang into action. She broke into his home through a basement window and searched for clues. Because the layout of his home is exactly like hers, she maneuvered easily and finds his room quickly. Once she’s inside, she stumbled upon Harvey’s sketchbook. While she flipped through the pages, she discovered the sketches for his underground den, a picture of Susie and a lock of her hair Harvey kept has a trophy. He even wrote out “Stolfutz Cornfield,” the exact location of Susie’s body.
Luckily for her, Harvey hadn’t returned home during this time, so she escaped the home undetected. When Harvey finally returned home, he noticed objects in disarray. He discovered the broken window and realized the sketchbook is missing and sprang into action and began packing his belongings. He planned to disappear as he had done before in towns across the country. But this time it wouldn’t be that easy. This time someone caught him, this time he won’t be able to get away.
Lindsey got the sketchbook to her family; her father finally acquired the proof he needed of Harvey’s guilt. As a family, they went to the police station and showed the officers the undeniable evidence they needed to make a step in the case. They placed an APB for Harvey’s arrest. When officers reached his home, Harvey peeled down the road, creating a short-lived police chase. Officers were able to bring Harvey to the station for rounds of interrogation. Harvey would later be denied bail and be sentenced for the rape and murder of Susie. The Salmons would get their day in court, they would get their justice. Harvey would sit there in prison, while detectives look deeper into his past and find even more victims.
Ever since I first read the book and watched the movie, I hated the ending. I wanted Harvey to face the music, I wanted his victims and their families to get the closure they deserved. I hope my ending gave them that.