Monday, February 19, 2007

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

The Book of Lost Things: By John Connolly
Publication date: November 2006
Started: 08/01/2006 Finished: 08/07/2006
Rating: 8 3/4 Pages: 339

First of all let me say how much this book surprised me. Connolly is best known for a series of crime novels starring his character of Charlie "Bird" Parker (Starting with the novel Every Dead Thing.). A tough ex-cop who gets involved in crimes with a slight supernatural twist. While these novels are very good, they are somewhat totally different than what Connolly is doing here with The Book of Lost Things. And different here is very good!
The novel starts out in World War II era London. The main character , David, is dealing with the impending death of his Mother who is very sick, and whom he loves very much. So much in fact that he starts little rituals to help "protect" her. These rituals are very OCD like and needless to say they don't work. His Mother passes away, leaving David & his Father to fend for themselves.
As he growing up, David's Mother instilled in him a love of Books & stories. And now David takes solace in those stories to lessen the loss of his Mother.
So time goes by & David & his Father become closer, but eventually his Father falls in love with another woman named Rose. And of course this doesn't sit well with David. He refuses to get along with her. And on top of that, he starts experiencing seizures that are accompanied by weird dreamlike visions of another land. And after the seizures he finds that he can "hear" the books on his shelves. He could "hear" them talking to him & amongst themselves!
It's then that David's Father tells him that Rose is pregnant, and he's going the have a brother, and they'll all going to move out of London to escape the bombings. So they pack up & move to Rose's family's house in the country. A huge crumbled down old mansion covered in Ivy. David gets a room filled with all kinds of old books. At of course not being very happy there, he retreats into them. And his relationship with his new step-mother deteriorates more & more. And he looks upon his new Brother with disinterest & jealousy. He does take solace in exploring the grounds of the house & finds a hidden garden that he uses as his "escape" when he wants to be alone.
One day he's down in this garden & he looks up at the window of his room. And he sees a strange looking man in his room looking through his books. Naturally he freaks out, runs & tells his Father, who then goes up to his room to check it out. The only thing he finds is a bird trapped in the room.
Shortly after this David's relationship with his step-mother comes to a head, and they end up shouting at each other, and Rose slaps him. When David's Father comes home he blames David & sends him to his room. Later, in the middle of the night, something unknown wakes David up. He can't figure out what woke him up, so he sneaks out of the house, down to the hidden garden. As he's heading out there, a German bomber is blown up in the sky above & the wreckage falls towards David in the Garden. David retreats further into the garden & finds himself the hollow of a tree (Which in tales like this, always seem to go deeper than they should.) So he finds his way out & realizes that he's now in another world!
Once he's in the other world he hears what he thinks as his dead Mother's calling to him to come rescue her. So he sets off to find her. Along the way he meets up with different people who try to help him or hinder him. (Some of these characters you may recognize from fairie tales, some you may not.) All while trying to dodge the evil Crooked Man, The man who he saw through his bedroom window earlier in the story. The Crooked Man tempts him with a way home, but at what cost?
The Book of Lost Things is a wonderful coming of age set against a fairie tale world. If you like stories like Stephen King's The Talisman, or Robert McCammon's Boy's Life, you'll love this story.

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