The Book of Lost Things
by John Connolly
The story opens with David, a 12-year-old boy in England, who is grieving the loss of his mother. Soon his father remarries and moves with his step-mother and half-brother to a new home. He’s frustrated and lonely and he turns to books for comfort, but when he follows their tempting whispers he ends up in another world with no way to get home.
This book is an odd mix between a coming-of-age story a fairy tale and a horror story. Connolly’s brilliantly re-imagines classic fairy tales with adult endings. For example, there are communist dwarves who live with an abusive, obese Snow White. The book’s ultimate foe is the Crooked Man, one of the cruelest, most depraved villain’s I’ve ever encountered in a novel. He is manipulative, evil, violent and vindictive.
This is definitely not a book for kids, but the author never intended it to be. I was a bit shocked by it at first because for some reason I thought it was a YA book. In actuality it’s a fairy tale for adults. At its core it is about remembering the pain of growing up and accepting the heartaches and tough decisions that follow you through life. Once I understood that I enjoyed it much more.
I don’t think this book is for everyone, but even though some moments made me squeamish, I really liked it. I’ve found myself returning to the story frequently after finishing it. I think about the characters and David’s journey and I’ve discover new depths to the challenges he faced along the way. To me, any book that has the power to linger for so long is worth reading.
“Um, and what about happily ever after? asked David. “What does that mean?”
“Eaten quickly,” said Brother Number One.