High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.
Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.
Since I started reading more book blogs, and started up my own book blog again, I’ve been seeing so many great recommendations for books. Normally, when I hit up the library, I’ll wander aimlessly and pick out a book from the huge collections of spines on the library’s shelves. Now, I don’t complain about that—this is how I discovered the greatness of Kristin Hannah—but sometimes it’s nice to have a quick trip to the library, knowing exactly what I’m picking up.
I’ve been frantically putting books on hold, or on my “later” shelf at my local library these days—not to mention, my shelves at home are quite full, leading me to seriously consider buying yet another bookcase for my collection.
One such book that I had heard great things about was John Connolly’s The Book of Lost Things. I honestly had no clue what it was about, but I had seen it recommended so often that I didn’t care what it was about—I had to read it. After finishing it, I was happy to have listened to everyone’s suggestion—it was truly a book not to miss.
Reminiscent of Narnia, Harry Potter, and maybe even a bit of Saw (yes, those scary movies), The Book of Lost Things follows young David as he loses his mother. In time, his father moves on and marries Rose. With her, they have another child, a boy, named Georgie. David keeps his spot in his room, reading his books, wanting nothing to do with this new family. Strange things start happening—his books seem to whisper to him, a strange man appears in his bedroom window—and David ultimately lets his curiosity get the best of him as he searches the sunken garden in the yard, which leads him to a hidden world.
Obviously, Narnia comes to mind when this happens, and I figured it would be just another story of a young boy in a faraway land. However, this book was unique in that there are so many fairytale references going on—and not just your usual Disney-fied fairytales, but old tales of the Grimm brothers. Those creepy, not quite right, tales.
The mood of the book was light in places, suspenseful in various chapters, and downright creepy and scary as a whole. Yet, it left the reader feeling satisfied in the end, leaving many messages to the reader. It’s a book about growing up, facing your fears, and learning to love what is new.
It is easy to grow attached to all the characters in the novel, as Connolly writes them so well. At times, the reader is in a fairytale but doesn’t know it. At other times, the reader knows the fairytale so well that it’s a treat to see Connolly’s spin on it.
Once you finish the book—at least in my copy—there’s about 100 pages including an interview with Connolly and references to all the fairytales referred to and written about within its pages. Connolly goes through the origin of the fairytales and gives the reader the original tale, or one which he thought was fascinating. While I had learned quite a bit about fairytales in university, I learned so much more from this book. I had no idea there were so many versions of these fairytales.
This is not a children’s book. While the thought of fairytales may automatically ring alarm bells in an adult’s mind that this book is too young of a read, be warned. There are quite a lot of scares in this book. The fairytales are not what your kids may be used to.
The Book of Lost Things is not to be missed. It is a great read and one of those books that will instantly be deemed a classic.
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