When it comes to British humor and fantasy, you can’t get a better mix then this novel by John Connolly. In The Book of Lost Things Connolly details the story of a young boy, named David, who’s mother dies. Not long after his mother dies, his father remarries a woman named Rose and together, they bring about David’s half brother Georgie. David is jealous of the new baby and escapes into the world of literature. It is during this time, that David starts to hear his mother calling to him to save her and in the pursuit of her, he discovers a passageway in the garden that leads to a world of fairytale and myth. In the hopes of getting home, David is told he must trek across the foreign land to find the king, and his magical “book of lost things.” So David sets out, in the hopes of rescuing his mother and reuniting the family that was destroyed by Rose and Georgie’s arrival, with the help of The Woodsman and a knight as he is pursued by The Crooked Man who wishes to make a bargain with David. Though at first David is hopeful that The Crooked Man can send him home, he soon becomes suspicious of his actions and begins to question the way that this mystical land is run.
When it comes to my views, on this book, I am not sure where to begin. While it does go along with the classic coming of age” themes it has a certain tone of danger that makes it more inclined for adults then children. Connolly expertly translates the fairy tales known throughout the ages in with David’s story and puts his principle character into impossible scraps that his imaginative mind finds a way out of. While at times I felt dumber then dirt reading about how David expertly solved the trolls riddle, or managed to trick the woman in the cottage, I found the entire experience an extremely enjoyable story.
What really grabbed me about the book, is the way the Connolly so clearly captures David’s contempt for his brother. In David’s disdain for his half brother, Connolly clearly captures a clear them in many sibling relationships and uses it as the basis as his morality tale. The subject matter at the beginning of the book, when he introduces Rose and Georgie, is raw and emotional and as David progresses through the book, I could see a very subtle transformation in David’s thinking as Connolly turns the deadly sin of envy on its head and makes it a morality tale for children.
Though this book is not my favorite, I have to say I enjoyed it much more then my previous read The Magicians. While David does not have magical powers, the plot and adventure of this parallel word seemed much more present and the lessoned learned by David to much more real and thought out. The ending of this book however, was the best aspect of the story. It couldn’t have ended on a more perfect note, and for that reason I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mix of fantasy, with a strong coming of age tale, and a nice sprinkling of tears.
Final Grade: B+