The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

 

You have a sick mind, John Connolly. But somehow you totally made it work.

David is a young boy in WWII England who slowly, painfully watches his mother die (of what I’m thinking is cancer). Very obviously distraught by her death, things get worse for David when his father remarries and announces that David has a sibling on the way. David has always taken refuge in reading books, but now those books are speaking to him and as his family life becomes more stressful, the lines between reality and imagination start to blend. Suddenly David finds himself in a strange, dangerousΒ world and has to find his way home again. His only hope is to make it to the King, an old, dying man whose legendary “Book of Lost Things” might be the key to David’s return to his world.

I really liked this book when I started it. The writing is simple but also kind of lyrical and I was a bit enchanted by it. Also, David was a weird kid that I totally felt for. He’s a book lover so obviously I connected on that level with him instantly, but he does start to go a little crazy with grief. It’s SO RARE that I connect with a 12-year old character, but I instantly felt for David.

Once he crosses over into that weird realm, things took a definitely darker twist. He’s in danger, and there are hints of fairy tales in this land but they’ve been warped from the stories he knew. Honestly, some things were so twisted and disturbing and gruesome that I was a little put off by it. It was weird. And then by page 200, I felt like the book was slowing down a bit and wasn’t convinced that I’d end up liking it as a whole. When I posted on Instagram that I was reading The Book of Lost Things, I got a lot of “That’s a great book!” type of comments, and I was starting to worry that I would have to disagree.

BUT THEN THE ENDING HAPPENED. By page 250 things had picked back up and some huge things were revealed. Well, they were huge to me because I never see these things coming. But yeah, I was in for a total shock in some aspects and things were happening and I was biting my nails and yeah… I finished the book surprised but glad. And a little blind-sided. I went online immediately to look up more info and about the book and whatnot, and Wikipedia described this as a “coming-of-age” novel. I’ve come to mistrust and hate books labeled “coming-of-age” (I’m looking at you, A Visit From the Goon Squad) and usually avoid them, but I think that I’ve finally found a book deserving of that label. David grows a whole lot as a kid and as a character, through the trials and obstacles that he has to overcome.

The Book of Lost Things examined a whole lot of issues in one book – OCD, death, grief, maturity, bravery, the after life, etc. My mind feels shaken up with it all, and I feel like I’ll be thinking about this book for a good long while. And when I’m done musing on this book, I’ll probably seek out some of John Connolly’s other novels.

Sarah Says: 4.5 stars (with .5 star missing because the middle dragged justΒ a bit)

 

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19 comments

  1. Yup, you really described my thoughts on this one well. I loved the beginning, then in the middle I found it took a disturbing twist. But the end brought things full circle and totally surprised me. I still think about that book.

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    1. YAY I’m glad you’ve already read it! And that it wasn’t just me, lol. I was definitely kind of blown away by the end and yeah… I think it’s a book that’ll stick with me. Have you read anything else by John Connolly?

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  2. Your review makes me want to re-read this! One of his other books called The Gates was good from what I remember. I read it ages ago but recently lent it to a friend. She hasn’t chucked it back to me yet asking why the hell I’d loan her such a piece of trash, so it can’t be too bad!

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      1. I haven’t, but randomly my mum has! I gave her The Gates to read after I had finished it, she liked it and then basically ordered his whole back catalogue from the library! Just asked her, she said they were good if that’s a vague kind of help?

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  3. Oh man, you’ve really made me want to read this. I mean, that is good and this book looks brill but do I really have to add another book to my wishlist?! I don’t know why I’m moaning, of course I want to add it. Who needs a social life or a job anyway, when you’ve got books. Sounds like this could be one that encourages some deep thoughts. Gotta love them.

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    1. Boooooo social life and job! Read all the books! But if you do get around to this one, then I’ll be interested in what you think πŸ™‚ If I were in a book club I would totally suggest reading it, because I think there’s lots to talk about.

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  4. Hmm.. I am slightly nervous! I just bought this for myself a few weeks ago (though my cover is red and yours is much nicer!). I didn’t realize it got disturbing and sometimes I have a hard time handling that.. but with a 4.5 rating, I am still too curious to pass!

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    1. Nothing got graphically disturbing… but I think that John Connolly has a touch of madness in him. I hope that you end up liking it! The end definitely made all that weirdness worth it.

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  5. This book sounds a-m-a-z-i-n-g! I think it’s great this novel has possibly changed your opinion on the “coming of age” genre? I really enjoy reading about a character who ages throughout a story…it makes me feel closer to him/her and I feel I get a better sense of who they are because of their childhood and upbringing. I have to recommend a fantastic “coming of age” novel, Journey – Book 1, by author Max Zimmer(http://maxzimmer.com/) with another very unique theme! The story is about a young Mormon boy, Shake, living right in the heart of Mormon territory, Utah. Shake hears a line of music on the radio of a cattle truck that changes his life forever. The music is jazz. The novel takes place in the 60s and Shake faces bigotry, abuse, repression, and hypocrisy because of his new-found love for jazz. You really do care for this character and he handles each obstacle with courage, humor and sincerity. I was pulled deep into the story, in many ways I became Shake as I felt I was growing up with him, the love, laughter, the friendships, rage, attractions, it was all very real. The book follows Shake as he discovers who he really is and what he wants to believe in; not what he’s taught to do. Hope you will give it a read! (It’s a series so there are two more books to go!)

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