I just finished The Book of Lost Things. I mean, just now. I usually wait a while before I sit down and review a book, but this couldn’t wait. I’ve never read a book quite like this one. I know it’s been reviewed like crazy out there, but I was turned onto this book by my friend Stephanie over at The Written Word.
For those of you who don’t know, this is the story of 12-year-old David, a young boy who loses his mother during WWII. Soon after his mother dies, his father remarries and has another son. David is devasted. He retreats into the books that he enjoyed reading with his mother. Soon, he finds himself in a world of fairy tales. David must journey through this violent world to find his way back home.
I’m not even sure what to say about this book. I went into it with very high expectations based on what I heard about it and I wasn’t disappointed. As the story is being set up, I found myself marveled by the descriptions and language that the author used. This is not something I usually pay attention to while I read. John Connolly definitely has a gift with the English language.
As David enters this violent world, I found myself dumbfounded. I was entralled with the story and wondered how it was going to end. I enjoyed recognizing the different fairy tales as they made appearances in the story. However, I found myself slightly shocked by how these stories were changed to fit the book. The fairy tales were not the Disney versions that I grew up with. The changes were appropriate to the novel, but also disturbing, as they were meant to be.
This is more than a fairy tale book. It is the story about David growing from a jealous boy into a responsible man. A coming-of-age story is nothing new. But, John Connolly’s approach to telling it surely is. David’s journey through a violent world was very poignant in symbolizing the often “violent” act of growing up. It was beautifully done.
In the version of the book Stephanie loaned me, there is an interview with the author at the end. Then, the author includes information about the fairy tales that he used in the book, citing how each one helped further David’s story. This was fascinating and added to the novel tremendously.
I really want to have my mother (a former English teacher and consummate book lover) read this book. I’m sure she will be fascinated by it even more than I was. I can’t wait to share it with her. And, Stephanie, thanks again for sharing it with me.