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The Book of Lost Things

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The Book of Lost Things By John Connolly

Another much reviewed book in Ireland in 2006

Summary of The Book of Lost Things: Wow!!
Comment: I love discovering new (to me) authors, and Connolly blew me away with this novel. (I just finished 10 minutes ago and felt compelled to write a review, if that's any indication....) I suppose one could say the story combines elements from The Neverending Story with C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but let me stress that it's so MUCH more (no knock-off here!), and stands solidly on its own. (Plus, this book was written for adults.)

The Crooked Man character is particularly creepy, but there are a variety of characters (and multiple fairytales as you've never heard them before) that deserve recognition, too, and make the book a great read with a well-done ending. Excellent writing, Connolly!

Summary: Dark Realism in a Fairy Tale World
Comment: When I bought this book, I was expecting something along the lines of Gregory Maguire's Wicked, which for those of you who haven't read it, is the Wicked Witch of West's side of the ever famous Oz story. Instead, what I read was a book that basically took every fairy tale I grew up with and added a healthy helping of the seven deadly sins.

The story is about a boy, David, who is angry at the world he is living in. He eventually finds himself in a fantasy world where all the fairy tales he grew up with are all real, but completely distorted. The book follows his quest through this world to find a way back to his own.

There is a healthy dose of dark realism in this story and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone that will not get easily offended or put off by mature subject matter. I will say that this is not a book for immature readers. The topics are at times graphic in nature, but John Connolly doesn't go out of his way to make this book gory or sexually explicit. Every aspect of the story just adds to the charm of the book.

If you like fairy tales, and don't mind a dark twist on things, then I highly recommend this book. It has quickly become one of my favorites.

The Book of Lost Things Summary: One highly enjoyable and extremely adult fairy tale.
Comment: In this first departure from mystery novels (discounting of course his excellent collection of deep and dark stories from a previous book titled Nocturnes) John Connolly manages to meld illogical with logical and to remind us all that what may seem real is just another side of a coin conveniently labeled nightmare and fantasy.

This tale builds slowly (as it should and during the brief passage of the first five chapters) through the eyes of a twelve year old boy named David. But the tale soon picks up speed on the doorstep of Chapter six. And then... watch out!

The source for most of the tales encountered by David, during his journey through an alternate but un-named land, is the Brother's Grimm. And the structure itself lends closely to Lewis Carroll's tales of Alice's adventure in Wonderland and her journey Through the Looking Glass. But we cannot omit L. Frank Baum from this porridge of evil but sublime. His imprint is there and presiding with more than a tip of the hat to Dorothy and her journey to Oz and to the `Magnificent Wizard' (and a reminder of at least a couple of her companions, along the way through that journey).

But don't think I'm going to say this tale is a `copy' of any of the above! The story is wholly original in the telling... and then some.

It should be said (and already has been) that this rendering is not for children. And it is not for the faint of heart. If anything, the story can be viewed as cautionary fairy tale melded with contemporary warning to the likes of Ed Gein and John Wayne Gacy (and Gacy especially, when `feeling' the creepy crawly `below-world' of the crooked man and some of his personal culinary delights). Both of these monsters could easily have existed in David's alternate world.

And wasn't that, after all is said and done, the original warning of the Brother's Grimm?

Beware of that which seems innocent and pure because... it may be not!

Summary: a Fantastic Read!!
Comment: When you see John Connolly's name on a book, it's a no brainer it will be fabulous - from Charlie Parker to this wondrous book. This book caught my imagination from the book cover. As one who holds books like they are part of me, the thought of books whispering, actions done that confirms no harm will happen the next day, even our darkest thoughts as children and adults draws me into its web. This masterful novel deals with a young boy, David, who has lost his mother, and sees his father have to marry his pregnant girlfriend, and then, adding insult to injury, they have a baby, usurping the attention David thought he should have.
He runs into the woods to leave this situation and on the other side of a tree is another world. A world that David would have to conquer in order to be released from it, and understands the true nature of goodness and love. After many adventures with stories of fairy tales that we might have read, (but these stories have their own twists), David must choose between good and evil. During this journey David finds himself growing from a child to a young man with a true heart. All lost things are found again.

Summary: Thank you Mr. Connolly!
Comment: I've read all of John Connolly's other novels and love them. Only problem I have is that he can't write them quickly enough to satisfy my desire. (smile) Began 'Book of Lost Things' late last night and, like another reviewer, read it in one sitting. WHAT a story! WHAT a storyteller! The book held me from the very beginning with the books, the books talking, the life of books, the emotion of books! There was even a passage that brought a tear to my eyes, the passage about the boy discovering pictures of his mother as a young girl and realized she had an entire life separate from him. Since I've lost my own mother, and now have pictures of her as a girl I, too, went through that 'aha' experience. John Connolly reaches deep into the heart of us all, if we are receptive to him. This is a book for all those who believe in the life of books and the power of words. It is a book NOT to be missed and a book I hope earns every award possible. Trust me, if you have a heart, the ending will have you crying and the final pages will have you returning to read them again and again. He is truly a master storyteller and, to my mind, what better thing can one be? Mr. Connolly thank you, thank you for the enjoyment you bring to many of us. And, to the reviewer who said he read this story via download, why read it any other way? Because a download is NOT a book. There is something about a book, the smell, the feel ......the LIFE.

More Reviews of The Book of Lost Things
Editorial Reviews:

New York Times bestselling author John Connolly's unique imagination takes readers through the end of innocence into adulthood and beyond in this dark and triumphantly creative novel of grief and loss, loyalty and love, and the redemptive power of stories.

High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother. He is angry and alone, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness, and as he takes refuge in his imagination, he finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a land that is a strange reflection of his own world, populated by heroes and monsters, and ruled over by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book... The Book of Lost Things.

An imaginative tribute to the journey we must all make through the loss of innocence into adulthood, John Connolly's latest novel is a book for every adult who can recall the moment when childhood began to fade, and for every adult about to face that moment. The Book of Lost Things is a story of hope for all who have lost, and for all who have yet to lose. It is an exhilarating tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.
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