Brandon's Reviews > The Book of Lost Things

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
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Apr 05, 13

bookshelves: favorites, fiction, 2008, ya, connolly

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 father’s new wife because of it. His inability to cope have resulted in David taking frequent panic attacks and passing out for extended periods of time. His parents begin to worry when David claims that the books in his bedroom have begun to talk to him, whispering to him from time to time.

One evening, after an argument with his step mother, David wanders out to his backyard claiming he’s hearing calls for help from his mother. He crawls through a space in the fence somehow transporting him into a world similar to his favorite fairy tales.

Now, I know this sounds pretty childish but it really isn’t. “The Book Of Lost Things” can at times be extremely violent as Connolly seems to enjoy twisting and taking apart various fairy tales. Snow White, for example, never meets her prince. Instead, she over-eats and forces the seven dwarfs into slave labor for the rest of their lives to support her. This leaves the dwarfs constantly trying to find a way to kill her in order to be free.

Connolly puts his own spin on several other classic tales coming away with something fresh and memorable. He develops a great antagonist with the book’s main villain, “The Crooked Man”. In the end, he is an extremely desperate and vengeful character who is fully realized and spiteful. In fact, his speech to David near the book’s conclusion is something to watch for. Quite possibly one of my favorite literary villains to date.

This was the first Connolly book I’d read and after reading almost everything else he has to offer, it remains near the top of my favorites. I’d recommend it to just about anyone.

Cross posted on Every Read Thing
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Quotes Brandon Liked

John Connolly
“Eventually the Woodsman spoke. ‘We all have our routines,’ he said softly. ‘But they must have a purpose and provide an outcome that we can see and take some comfort from, or else they have no use at all. Without that, they are like the endless pacings of a caged animal. If they are not madness itself, then they are a prelude to it.’

The Woodsman stood and showed David his axe.

‘See here,’ he said, pointing with his finger at the blade. Every morning, I make certain that me axe is clean and keen. I look to my house and check that its windows and doors remain secure. I tend to my land, disposing of weeds and ensuring that the soil is watered. I walk through the forest, clearing those paths that need to be kept open. Where trees have been damaged, I do my best to repair what has been harmed. these are my routines and I enjoy doing them well.’

He laid a hand gently on David’s shoulder, and David saw understanding in his face. ‘Rules and routines are good, but they must give you satisfaction. Can you truly say you gain that from touching and counting?’

David shook his head. ‘No,’ he said, ‘but I get scared when I don’t do them. I’m afraid of what might happen.’

‘Then find routines that allow you to feel secure when they are done. You told me that you have a new brother: look to him each morning. Look to your father, and your stepmother. Tend to the flowers in the garden, or in the pots upon the window sill. Seek others who are weaker than you are, and try to give them comfort where you can. Let these be your routines, and the rules that govern your life.”
John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things


Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Trudi I loved this book, just loved it. I may have to re-read it at some point. Great review!


Brandon Thanks! I'd love to re-read it at some point. I did read it about 5 years ago.


message 3: by Chloelory (new)

Chloelory I totally agree with you it seems childish it is not.


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