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The Book of Lost Things

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  34,646 ratings  ·  4,669 reviews
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into ...more
Hardcover, 339 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Sierraavenue This is one of my favorite books. I often reread it every other year or so. It is very dark, yet so enjoyable, especially if you like fairy tales. It…moreThis is one of my favorite books. I often reread it every other year or so. It is very dark, yet so enjoyable, especially if you like fairy tales. It is definitely worth reading.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Vegan
Jan 27, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everybody, especially those who have used reading to get through challenging times
Part fairy tale and part psychological study, I found this to be an engrossing and powerful book. Recommend to everybody, particularly those who have used reading and books to get themselves through difficult times, especially in childhood.

I don't look at this book the way some readers apparently have: as sci-fi or fantasy, but instead see it as showing the redemptive power of books and stories in children's and adults' lives. And as an account of one boy's inner life and imagination.

I'm not sur
...more
mark monday
Fugue state, formally Dissociative Fugue... usually involves unplanned travel or wandering, and is sometimes accompanied by the establishment of a new identity. Fugues are usually precipitated by a stressful episode.

in world war 2-era england, young David loses his mother after a lingering illness and begins to experience strange dissociative episodes, often involving the sounds of books whispering to him and usually ending with him falling into unconsciousness. soon enough, his father finds a n
...more
Robotkarateman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mith
I stayed up till 1 last night to finish this book.

I REGRET NOTHING.

Recently I've taken quite a fancy to fairy tale re-tellings. You can go right ahead and blame Gail Carson Levine for that. The Book of Lost things belongs to that genre, albeit a bit LOT more darker.

The book begins by introducing us to 12-year old David who has just lost his mum. He finds out that his dad is getting remarried and pretty soon finds himself with a baby brother, whom he hates on sight. Deep in his depression, he be
...more
Karina E
A fairytale turned nightmare. I loved this!
First off, let me tell you that this is not something for the faint of heart. Some passages were definitely scary or just plain twisted and gross (think bad witch cutting off children's heads and putting them on animals to then hunt them..). I want to get that out of the way because the word fairytale can be misleading. Those elements in the story were used sparingly though and never took over the story to the point were it turned into the horror genre
...more
Lori
Read this book without really knowing too much about it. Just that other reviewers were impressed and it centered around a little boy and some dark versions of fairy tales that I had grown up on.

Wow.

Wow.wow.wow.

That is what I have to say when I got to the last page.
It was a really really great story. 10 year old boy who loves to read, loses his mother, hates his new stepmother and stepbrother.... gets pulled into this fairy tale world where things are familiar yet somewhat strange. Evil lurks ar
...more
colleen the contrarian  ± (... never stop fighting) ±
So I finished the story part of this last night (though I'm still browsing through the additional material stuff), and I ended up really liking it.

Actually, I found the ending very poignant and bitter sweet... touching and sad and beautiful, and it elevated an otherwise 3.5 star book to a full 4 stars.

I will say that I enjoyed the story pretty much throughout. I really like fairy tale re-tellings, and I like the way they were often put on their head in this story, but also used to both teach Dav
...more
karen
this was fine. i think i expected it to be a little more grown-up than it was. in many ways i am a huge infant, but not so much in my reading, unless its reeeally young reader picture books. but this had some nice reimaginings of traditional fairy tales, and it certainly doesnt take long to read, so i recommend to those adults that are already reading the harry potters and twilights. you babies!
Mark
May 05, 2012 Mark rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mark by: Kasia!
This was me after finishing this novel, my first read from John Connolly:

description

It was so gut-wrenchingly emotional. Every bit of it. From the harrowing beginning, to the Labyrinth-on-acid fantasy world in which the main character soon finds himself.

There's so much going on in this novel. It seems like a children's fairy tale, but if I had read this as a young'un, I would probably be in an insane asylum to this day. I know Connolly typically writes crime fiction and this being my first, I'm unable to
...more
Libby
I loved and highly recommend this book. To give you an idea of its content and style, it reminded me of the film Pan’s Labyrinth. It’s a vividly imagined coming-of-age fairy tale with a dark overlay. The fairy tales as used in this book are more akin to the traditional Brothers Grimm than the modern Hollywood version. I mention the darker aspects of the book simply to alert the potential reader that this is not a modern day Cinderella story that many expect when they hear “fairytale.” This book ...more
Kim
This is why I don't read the front jacket of books. I get sucked in thinking 'wow--this makes a good story'. Hmphf.

Okay, it's not a bad story. It had its moments. But, it lost me when it started twisting fairy tales to be all sorts of clever. Snow White as a hefty, insult laden uber wench? yeah. whatever.

The story outside of these sidebars is actually quite interesting, a boy's journey in a strange land, grieving over his dead mom, etc... but I still found myself wondering what those dudes that
...more
Abigail Hillinger
Hmmmm. What to say about this book...

Okay, in many ways, brilliant. It started off reading like a children's story and I was immediately thinking that I'd lend it to my 8-year-old niece. But as the book progressed, it moved further and further into a clear adult-fantasy. And like many adult-fantasy authors these days, Connelly has taken old fables/fairy tales and put his own twist on them. Rather than revelling them into an entire story, like Gregory Maguire does, Connelly just keeps them as lit
...more
Becky
Dear Bolt,
This is going to be something of a "Dear John" letter. I'm sorry in advance, and I'm going to say right off the bat that while I don't think this was all you, or all me, I think we both had faults that led to this situation. I hope we can still be friends after, because I don't hate you. I'm just... disappointed.

We've had a little flirtation thing going on for years. Since 2008, you've called my name and whispered promises of sweet, sweet booklove to me whenever I would walk by my bo
...more
Brandon
John Connolly released only his 2nd book not related to his franchise character, Charlie Parker, with “The Book Of Lost Things”. Connolly’s story begins during World War II, where the main character, David, has moved to the childhood home of his new stepmother to escape the possibility of a German occupation in London. David’s mother had passed away a few years earlier due to a terminal disease and he had never really found a way to cope with it, shouldering most of the blame and rejecting his f ...more
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
Awesome, dark beautiful book. I still insist on viewing Roland as a gay man and nothing will convince me otherwise. Besides, how cool is it to have a brave, non stereotypical gay character? It doesn't happen often.
This book is very dark, so it's probably not good for younger audiences. It has strong messages about what it means to go from man to boy, about facing your grief and I can't believe that bellyfull of gold thing actually historically happened.

Horrifying.




This book is still good. Also,
...more
Mimi
Jul 31, 2014 Mimi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: connoisseurs of dark fairy tales
A children's book not suitable for children should be a tagline somewhere on the cover because it's necessary.

That aside, I really like this book and John Connolly's writing. Fairy tale retelling is one of those thingsI stay away from because in general these storiesare either not well conveyedor they don't bring anything new to a classic narrative or they rely too much on the existing tale and world to carry the book. Also, I find many retellings boring and predictable, not because I already kn
...more
Rachel
I picked this up blindly and bought it from the description on the book jacket alone. I wish I'd liked it more; rather, I wish it'd been better-executed.

My main trouble was with the telling-not-showing style of writing. In the words of Twain, "Don’t say 'the old lady screamed.' Bring her on and let her scream." The turbulence of David's inner life ends up muffled by the flat and dispassionate narrative ("He experienced a wave of pity for the dead man...", "He was still angry at God for what had
...more
Terry Brooks
I am recommending a book by John Connelly, one of my favorite thriller writers. But this book is not of that series or even that ilk. It is a fantasy for young adults, except it is really for everyone in the way all good fairytale books are. The title is THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS. It is about a boy whose own life resembles a fairytale story and whose adventures involve retelling and re-imagining a whole raft of familiar fairytales. Because Connelly is such a good writer, the story draws you right ...more
Laima
“The Book of Lost Things” by John Connolly

I decided to read this book after receiving a Goodreads Recommendation based on the books already on my shelf.
What an amazing story - this is truly storytelling at its best. The main character is a twelve year old boy named David who is really sad. His mother has died and he greatly misses her. David does not get a lot of attention from his father or his new stepmother so he finds solace in his books and the books sometimes talk to him. Yes, it’s really
...more
April
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ellery Adams
I really enjoyed this book. No, it's not for children. It's an adventure story and fairy tale for grown ups in the style of fairy tale masters Andersen and the Grimm Brothers. For those who like Disney fairy tales, forget this book. This is written in like an old-school fairy tale - those harsh and magical morality tales meant to teach a lesson by using monsters, beautiful women, and courageous children stepping from childhood into adulthood. I thought the World War backstory was excellent and g ...more
Ari Namidalem
.... The story ...

It was started with David’s grief and loss for his mother. Being with books and reading was his way to lose himself from reality. The grief has not lost when his father married a woman name Rose. He still can not accept Rosi’s existence and later his half-brother Georgie. This situation drove him more onto his books and tales… and the back yard, the place where he was going to wander about.

The adventures of searching the lost mother was started in the evening at the same time a
...more
Thomas
Thomas noticed the spider silently treading across the carpeted floor of his bedroom. He froze. Oh snap, he thought, this could be the end of me. He knew that taking innocent lives was sinful, but fear forced him to kill the terrifying creature with his phone book. Then, spiders began to emerge from literally everywhere - out of the windows, the walls, the dresser - and they crawled toward him. Their hairy, black bodies enveloped him and ate him alive.

As most of already discerned due to my lack
...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
“Um, and what about ‘happily ever after’?” asked David, a little uncertainly. “What does that mean?”

“Eaten quickly,” said Brother Number One.

That should give you an idea what you’re up against with this novel. Twelve-year-old David finds himself in a fairytale kingdom one night, but this kingdom isn’t exactly the way he expected it would be after reading his favorite stories.

I’m a sucker for fairy tale retellings, so I was biased in favor of this from the beginning. But this novel worked in seve
...more
Brooke
The Book of Lost Things is basically a fairy tale that pays homage to other fairy tales; the main character David disappears into a magic land after a German bomber plane crashes into his backyard and experiences a multitude of events culled from the books he's read (including, in the book's funniest scene, a book about Communism).

It's a story with many layers and an ambiguous end, which makes it a shame that the last 130 pages of the book are the author's notes and thoughts about the story. Eve
...more
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
I liked this book. It reached me on the love of books, sometimes more than people. As a boy David has issues dealing with the illness, then the loss of his mother. Books talk to David, he has trouble dealing with his father's new relationship. His journey after moving into his father's new wife's family home (David does not like his step-mother or his new baby brother) begins the night a German fighter plane crashes in the yard. Transported to another land David has adventures that help him to s ...more
Jordan
I really enjoyed this book and read in about two days. It is quite beautifully written as well, and there is a feeling to the story, that I feel you really don't experience in modern day writers. The story is about a boy whose mother dies, and he has a hard time getting along with his father so he begins to read and read. Then he notices the books in his room start talking to him, and then sort of like Alice he falls into another world, that is filled with creatures of a fantasy land, and the ad ...more
Jenne
Dec 14, 2013 Jenne rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jenne by: Jannine
Pretty much everything you need to know about this book is contained in this passage:
“You mean they killed her?" asked David.
"They ate her," said Brother Number One. "With porridge. That's what 'ran away and was never seen again' means in these parts. It means 'eaten.'"
"Um and what about 'happily ever after'?" asked David, a little uncertainly. "What does that mean?"
"Eaten quickly," said Brother Number One.”
Caris
So a kid walks into a bar...no..wait...a tree.And in the tree he meets all sorts of fairy tale creatures, including Snow White and the seven dwarfs. He travels with a woodsman and a knight- it's up to you to guess which one is gay. He seeks a king who will possibly be able to send him back to his own world, but doesn't really want to go. Oh, and then there's the Crooked Man, the baddest dude in all of tree world.

Although this one is for adults and deals with several adult themes, it reads like a
...more
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John Connolly was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and has, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a dogsbody at Harrods department store in London. He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper ...more
More about John Connolly...
Every Dead Thing (Charlie Parker, #1) The Gates (Samuel Johnson, #1) The Killing Kind (Charlie Parker, #3) Dark Hollow (Charlie Parker, #2) The Unquiet (Charlie Parker, #6)

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“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.” 471 likes
“I think the act of reading imbues the reader with a sensitivity toward the outside world that people who don't read can sometimes lack. I know it seems like a contradiction in terms; after all reading is such a solitary, internalizing act that it appears to represent a disengagement from day-to-day life. But reading, and particularly the reading of fiction, encourages us to view the world in new and challenging ways...It allows us to inhabit the consciousness of another which is a precursor to empathy, and empathy is, for me, one of the marks of a decent human being.” 277 likes
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