Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Book of Lost Things

by John Connolly

British Contemporary Fiction

General: A young boy, in trying to overcome the recent death of his mother, becomes bitter when his father remarries and the new wife quickly gives birth to a baby boy. As David struggles to come to terms with his position in this new family arrangement, his imagination begins to get the better of him and he starts hearing his books talk. Then the voice of his dead mother lures him into an enchanted world where a woodsman and a knight agree to lead him to see the king. In this world, ruled by a crooked man who places David through a series of warped and frankly, gory fairy tales (think Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Billy Goats Gruff on crack) he finally reaches the castle. David learns some valuable life lessons along the way.....
does he get back home, or does he become king of this new world? The choice is left to him...

Thoughts: This was a quick fun read. I liked the idea of books talking, because I think books are generally written to give a message to people, and I'd tend to think a kid would be one who would hear books speaking. The warping of the fairy tales did go a bit overboard at times in the gruesomeness. I'm also wondering if Connolly might have some problems against women, as he did some pretty ugly portrayals of them here (this is my devil's advocate self). That huntress, the fat and sassy Snow White, those ugly harpies, the seductress Red Riding Hood, sleeping "beauty", even the mean stepmother! 
Despite those issues, it was a good adventure with a clever concept. There were valuable life lessons contemplated and personal growth.  Also, I typically enjoy a well written good vs. evil story. 


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