Pauline's Reviews > The Stolen Child

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue
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Oct 28, 2008

it was ok
bookshelves: adult-fiction, fantasy, read-2008, reviews

"Away with us he's going,
The solemn-eyed -
He'll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest
For he comes the human child
To the waters and the wild
With a fairy, hand in hand
For this world's more full of weeping than he can understand" W.B. Yeats

"The Stolen Child" by Keith Donohue is inspired by the poem "The Stolen Child" by W.B. Yeats, but with a modern twist.

Henry Day runs away from home and is taken by the faeries. Henry's family and others search for him and find him in the woods in the hollow of a tree. The rescuers are relieved to find Henry safe and sound and do not notice that the person they have rescued is a changeling who has taken Henry Day's identity and Henry Day is now known as Aniday and is living among the faeries.

The faeries are a group of dirty, lost, hungry "Peter Pans" who are trapped forever in their youth. They live together with a hierarchy similar to the children in "The Lord of the Flies". The leader is constantly abusing the females of the group because he was turned into a faerie at puberty while the others generally became faeries before puberty hit them. I found the treatment of all the female characters in this book disturbing with an apparent lack of respect for them, they seemed there only to be abused.

Aniday has lost his identity and with each passing day he remembers less about his human life, but he yearns to understand it and to keep a memory of it in form of the written word. It is hard to understand why Aniday wants to know so much about his past when all the other faeries do not exhibit the same lust for knowledge. I could understand if Aniday had come from an exceptional home, but he did not, he came from a home were he was unnoticed and therefore was game for the faeries.

The changeling that became Henry Day's impostor also has an identity crisis; he cares little for his new family, but has a passion for music and uses his family to fulfill that passion. He also was once a boy that was stolen from his home, but his past was long ago in Germany. As he grows older in his new human life he remembers pieces of his past.

His new father doubts his son is the true Henry Day especially with his new found ability to master the piano and the classics. In the end of the book the mother confesses to the changeling that she always knew he was not her true son. This part confuses me, how could she always know and not do anything.

The book is depressing and I had problems bonding or relating with anyone in the book. I did enjoy that both the changeling and the stolen child both found their identity through the arts, the changeling through his music and the stolen child through the written word.


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message 1: by Farfished9 (new)

Farfished9 the abuse of the female hobgoblins made me feel bad too man...totally sad. While I don't feel that it is human nature for males to abuse females--I still find myself disgusted at how it does sometimes seem to be human nature(-esque) for folks to prey on what they find to be 'weaker' in others. Females typically physically vulnerable to males—and for many of us there is that constant bit o fear in the consciousness of this fact of life.

The ‘strong’ seeking to overpower the ‘weak’ can be particularly characteristic of children in some ways. The ones with dominant character traits or physical advantages often do seem to show no shame in out right abusing others. The first time I saw a very small child take pleasure in the random pain of another child—I was waaay freaked out. After years of babysitting and nannying I came to realize…oh crap…they’re nearly all like this…on some level or another. It is “normal” meaning it is representative of the norm…not that it’s pleasant or acceptable. Early childhood education and care is a lovely path—don’t get me wrong—but most of the stuff we don’t really like about kids is just because that’s how they are and they haven’t had the time to be taught better yet…and we have.

So if caring (if not basic dignified/respectful behavior) is (hopefully) modeled, directly taught, encouraged, learned and rewarded—what happens when it is not? We get more a-holes and sociopaths, right? Hehe…

We're born selfish in the sense that our own needs are our first concern. Am *i* hungry?--thirsty?? But...*I* want that toy...the attention the other is getting. Me me me…

We're taught to consider the feelings of others...both their possible feelings and the ‘obviously’ shown…to pick up on cues…to share and have empathy (again--hopefully). True--some people just seem to born sensitive and caring little souls...for real...while others just seem to be jerks, man...and most are in between...nothing exceptional in these regards. The range is broad.

When it comes to sexual identification (personal and in the ways we consider others) Hell--how many grown folks don't realize that their own sexual gratification is NOT the reason that the 'object of their desire' over there was put on this earth...sooo gross...and sad, yo. It might be easier to understand that the sexual implications of adolescence could possibly lead young human beings to act totally….well…poorly, to say the least. That doesn’t make it ok…but hopefully these callous traits go away as a person matures.

If the ‘older’ hobgoblin—the icko abuser—was a cold person from the get go...and had never had the chance to grow intellectually or morally...or spiritually, based on collected expectations/examples or whatever, and on top of that grew to be bitter with the crap he was dealt (you gotta admit getting stolen and changed into that mess is heavy) perhaps that is how he could have very well turned out.

As far as the females having no other role than being abused...well...they *were* expected to 'keep house' (something that would have been modeled to/accepted by all of them) and they *did* long to grow into physically developed women…women likely to do what perhaps is the most natural occurrence for most women to grow into experiencing...motherhood. They rocked their little dollies with this sickening pain that was more than just mimicking like "ok you're a little girl so here's yer baby doll to mother" type stuff...That made me really sad for them...=)

Sorry to rant…sooo long…Any more thoughts you want to share? Thanks for your perspectives. =)


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