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, dangerous 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 just a bit)