Friday, December 09, 2011

The Book of Lost Things

I bought this book years ago, the cover drew me in and I think I skimmed the first chapter, and so I picked it up on a complete whim, and now that I'm on my mission to read all the books I've accumulated over the years, I've finally got to it!
So I should start by saying that it's pretty damn rare that a book gets me emotional at all, it's even rarer that it makes me cry, and not only did this book do that - but it did it on page six, on the subway.  Congrats John Connolly, that was no easy feat.
It doesn't hurt that the opening pages are discussing a teenage boy going through the process of watching his mother die to disease, which is a story I know all too well myself, but still the way that it's written is just pure beauty.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the author has a similar background in how he just nailed the honest emotions and thoughts of it.  It's truly amazing. 
On the surface this is the story of an angry teenager who ends up in a fantasy world and needs to find his way home, but underneath it's a book about a child becoming a man, and dealing with life and death and the feelings that come with it.  It is a powerful damn book, but it's also wonderfully entertaining.  The fantasy world is a hodge-podge of all the fairy tale characters that we know and love, but re-imagined in a way that so fits with the tone and style of this book.  It's not really a children's story at all, it's barely a teenager's story, although they would enjoy it.  It's a rare treasure and a treat and I highly recommend it.  The paperback version also comes with over a hundred pages of appendices explaining the research he did, and the back story to the fairy tales he used - pretty interesting stuff. 
If you love fantasy, you'll love this, and if you hate fantasy but love great coming of age stories, I don't think the fantasy stuff will bother you one bit.  It's a great read.


Screenwriting Spinster said...

I will have to put a hold on it at the library. That cover is awesome! I didn't read the whole review as I now want to read it with fresh eyes. :)

Jeremy said...

It's a really wonderful book - looking forward to your thoughts!