Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Wow. What an amazing book. Honestly, I haven't read anything this fantastical, clever, and touching since I opened the first Harry Potter book years and years ago. With that in mind, this is definitely NOT Harry Potter.
Set in England during WWII, this is a classic "hero's journey" story of a 12-year old boy who's mother has just died. Steeped in grief, he becomes lost in the stories his mother used to tell him when he was a child - fairytales, folk tales, myths. When his father remarries and has another son, David finds himself falling prey to sudden blackouts and the ability to hear books conversing amongst themselves. Before he realizes what is happening, he finds himself plunged into a strange, dangerous world (a la Pan's Labyrinth.)

This book isn't for the faint-hearted. Although it is essentially about the vital role stories play in our lives, David's journey takes him to the darkest reaches of fairy tales and the secret nightmares we all harbor in the recesses of our minds. It is a transformative coming of age story, and Connolly delivers to the last page. I found myself enraptured by the adventure and smiling as the author gave me a new twist in the story I hadn't been expecting.

I can't say it enough. This one is a definite must-read for Dad. Becky, you might enjoy it (if you can make it past the squeamish stuff.) Mom, probably pass. While reading this, I was also reminded of Neil Gaiman's "Coraline" which was also impressive. I finished it last year during the blog drought. But if you enjoy this one (and I know you will), check out "Coraline." You'll be glad you did.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Amanda gave me this book for Christmas because I had not read it since this June posting. Wow, she got it just right. Although it is filled with modified fairy tale stories as you follow the main character through his adventure, this is not a child's book nor is it escapist literature. The opening chapters where the boy looses his mother and encounters anger and a form of madness as his father attempts to move on with his life are as true a human description as you will find anywhere. The ending also was a tear-jerker in a good way. Amanda's recommendations of who might like the book are good ones. Enjoy.