Review of 'The Book of Lost Things'

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

David is a young boy living in World War II Britain who has lost his mother, now living with his father, stepmother Rose and his half-brother, Georgie who he resents. David retreats into his own world attracting the attention of the Crocked Man who is looking for another soul to steal. When a German plane crashes into his backyard David finds himself in a twisted fantasy world where traditional fairy tales are turned on their head pursued by demonic wolves but with the help of a kindly soldier and a friendly woodsman David sets off to ask the king for his help to return home. Along the way he will face his fears and become a man, but will he survive the journey?

A wonderful, almost poetic ode to the loss of innocence in a cruel, harsh world, “The Book of Lost Things” is a joy to read particularly when Connolly hits is stride on David's arrival in the fantasy world. In addition to subverting well-known fair tales in imaginative ways there is also some humour to lighten the often serious tone of the book. There are some shocking and rather brutal scenes here that really shatter the illusion of a fluffy fairy tale: This is very real and the story might just not be “they lived happily ever after”. The main characters are beautifully fleshed out and feel quite real with very human strengths and weaknesses. The simple plot is quite hard to predict so we are compelled to keep reading to see what happens next and in the end this diligence pays off with an equally unpredictable conclusion. Doubtless most will shed a tear or two here and the ending is no exception.

An ease read coming of age story that manages to entertain and touch at the same time, as all great books should. Told with elegance and sensitivity that you can't help but be drawn in.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2023-05-17

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication Date: 2006

ISBN: 0340899468