“Stories wanted to be read, David’s mother would whisper. They needed it. It was the reason they forced themselves from their world into ours. They wanted us to give them life.”
– John Connolly, The Book Of Lost Things
The Book Of Lost Things – John Connolly, 2006
(Only mild spoilers ahead!)
The book is about the twelve-year-old David who has just lost his mum. His dad remarries and David soon finds himself with a new mother and a baby-brother. He hates the whole situation and soon hides behind his books. In his depression, he starts to hear voices coming out of the books he used to read with his mum. He then begins to see the Crooked Man and hears the voice of his mum asking him to rescue her. One night he follows her voice into the garden and ends up in another world.
There he meets the Woodsman who takes him in and saves him from creatures half human half wolf. In short: David then sets off to look for the King and the book of lost things, hoping to find a way back to his world.
On his journey he is constantly followed by the Crooked Man who tries to intimidate and convince him to give up his real-world family. His struggle of accepting his new family begins to fade as he understands the consequences of. The Crooked Man (a seriously seriously creepy guy) is truly gruesome and tries to persuade children to give up things they hate. He is not only wicked and cruel, he´s inhuman, fiendish and evil. He is so cringe-worthy and so frightening realistic. (I am actually really scared of him, this dude is damn creepy, holy crap.)
As the story goes on, David finds himself in complicated and cruel situations. With every decision he becomes more mature as he tries to learn what´s right and what´s wrong. It’s a story about a boy growing up. You might say it happens in a harsh and unscrupulous way, but he manages to handle all the danger in a way an adult could not.
“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
It´s a fairy tale. But it´s not to be mistaken as a children´s story. It´s filled with dark and scary creatures that seem to come directly from your deepest nightmares (literally: that kind of happens there). John Connolly weaves in different tales (for example Snow White or Red-Riding Hood) and changes them into something more dark and bloody. But it´s so very well written. I would like to mention that adults and children might have a different view on some of the scenes. There is one conversation between the Crooked Man and David where I clearly felt some sublimial sexual intention. (Which is one of the reasons the Crooked Man freaks me out.) Children might not see it as such, so… it all depends on the reader.
Opinion: The Book Of Lost Things is a dark, bloody and kind of disturbed adventure. It´s extraordanary creepy and beautiful at the same time. Admittedly it was a little too dark for me sometimes. Some parts left me horrified and I just wished to see some light at the end of the tunnel. David runs from one dark situation to the next one. Well, there even are some funny scenes, but overall it is quite gloomy, so be prepared. (But, you know, it´s my opinion. Maybe it wasn’t half as bad and I´m just a frightend piece of pie.)
“Can I ever come back here’ he asked, and the Woodsman said something very strange in reply.
‘Most people come back here,’ he said, ‘in the end”
Interesting is that at the end of the book, you don’t really know how much of what happened really happened. You don´t know if the magical world is real or if all of it happened in Davids head. But the thing is, it doesn´t really matter. It seems like a weird blending of both. It is a magical and thoughful read, so:
📚 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚 ◊ ◊ ◊ (7/10)
Laura | 13.10.2016