The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

 

FantasyThe Book of Lost Things The Book of Lost ThingsJohn Connolly; Washington Square Press 2007WorldCat

When David was younger, his mother died after a long illness. He had tried to keep her alive in his own superstitious ways. But nothing worked. David retreated to his books and imagination. Now he is 12 and his father has married Rose. He has a baby brother named Georgie. He resents Rose for trying to take his mother’s place. He resents his dad for remarrying. Now there’s Georgie. He feels like an outsider in his own home. He retreats more into his books and his secret place below the garden wall.

Something is happening, though. David sees things out of the corner of his eye that aren’t there. He feels there is something just beyond his grasp. While hiding in the garden one day he is frightened and retreats. Suddenly he isn’t in his garden anymore, but a world unlike his own. It reminds him of the stories in his books.

He soon learns it is like in his books, but it isn’t. In fact it is the dangerous version of his books. He has to get to the king in order to return to his own world. Along the way he meets a crooked man, a woodsman, a witch, other children, and other creatures. Some are trying to help him. Others have schemes for him. Now David has to learn who he can trust and who he can’t. That includes himself.

The Book of Lost Things is a traditional fantasy story line (think The Never Ending Story). The lonely boy who believes he is on the outside looks for his own place. He starts out as a young boy but starts maturing as he makes his trek to find the king.

John Connelly takes the story and gives it his own twist and voice. David’s feelings are real and strike the loneliness chord that lives in each of us.As he makes his decisions we can empathize with him and see the growth he achieves. His visions of “fairy tale land” get twisted, like the Hansel and Gretel type witch who lure in children like David. The king’s plots are suspect as well. Nothing is as it seems. Because of that, David learns who and what he is.

The Book of Lost Things gets dark at times. Yet it remains hopeful, not too over the top, and makes us rethink our perceptions. It is danger and heroism. It is a tale of growing up.

Notice:  Non-graphic violence

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