“The Book of Lost Things” by John Connelly
Let me begin by saying that I purchased “The Book of Lost Things” after seeing it’s memorable cover on countless trains and busses being read by all sorts of people. It appealed to me, yet I delayed a long time in picking it up. Once I finally did, it sat on my bookcase unread for several months.
Finally, I read the book.
I think I expected something life-changing, which left me a little disappointed that it’s just an okay book. I mean, it’s a good read, but it didn’t blow my mind. It’s very Neil Gaiman and “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Matilda” and even a teeny bit “Doctor Who” and has all the pieces I generally require to fall head over heels for a book, but somehow it missed the mark.
During World War Two, David (our young bookworm hero) develops OCD-like behaviors as his mother falls ill and dies. Once his father re-marries and David gets a new half-brother, he retreats into sullen behavior and his world of books. One memorable day, during an attack on the city, David begins to hear his mother’s voice and follows it, landing n a strange new world – one populated with dark versions of the fairy tale characters he’s read about. He’s being pursued by a Rumplestiltskin-like villain called “The Crooked Man” and must journey to the King of this strange land in order to seek the answers he needs and get home.
Right? What a killer plot!
Everything, for me, was fine until David actually got to the strange storyworld. I felt for him in his battles with his new stepmother, and of course related to his obsession with books. Yet somewhere in all the fractured retellings of Little Red Ridinghood, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast, my mind began to wander and it never returned to the book.
It’s as if I tried to read “Alice in Wonderland” and lost interest when Alice fell down the rabbit hole.
Don’t take my word for it. If the book sounds interesting, give it a read. Perhaps I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it. By all accounts, it should probably have lodged itself into my all-time favorites list. It just… didn’t?