My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 stars to John Connolly‘s The Book of Lost Things. I added this to my “To Read” list sometime in 2015 as it reminded me a little bit of the “Once Upon a Time” TV series which I love. And it didn’t disappoint!
A young adult novel focusing on a young boy’s quest to fit in his earthly world and survive in his fantasy world in 1940’s England. Young David (around 10) has suffered a lot as a boy. His mother dies early, his father remarries quickly. He is shy and doesn’t venture much out of his room. When he’s forced to accept his new stepmother and then his young half-brother, David mysteriously disappears into his books through a realm in secret sunken garden where he’s immediately thrown into fairy tale land. He must find a way out but quickly learns the fairy tales all have a dark side in this universe, and he’s not the first to be transported to the new world from his old world. He’s faced with the be-all, end-all question of selfish vs. selfless behavior. What will he choose and what are the impacts?
1. John Connolly has a vivid imagination with brilliant characters and creates a fun re-appropriation of beloved fairy tales.
2. You see a lot of yourself in David and know what he’s doing wrong all the time — makes you realize the commonality among all of us.
1. Not enough of the fairy tales are included to truly feel like you’ve shown us the full picture of this world. We need more!
2. I don’t know enough about David’s family and real world experiences to understand how/why he was chosen to enter the new world – so I’m a bit doubtful of the premise and how children are chosen by the Crooked Man.
It’s still a great read. I think it’s appropriate for pre-teens across the curriculum. It will speak volumes to different types of kids — those who love to read, those who have problems at home, those who just love fantasy, those who like history… need to compare novels like this to others in its genre to provoke true literary analytics, e.g. this vs. “Harry Potter,” this vs. “Life as We Knew It” and this vs. “Chronicles of Narnia.” I think it’s a great “survival of the fittest” read to help young adults learn how to mature.