Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Book of Lost Things

Title: The Book of Lost Things

Author: John Connolly

Number of pages: 342

Started: 5 February 2009

Finished: 7 February 2009

Opening words:

Once upon a time—for that is how all stories should begin—there was a boy who lost his mother.

He had, in truth, been losing her for a very long time. The disease that was killing her was a creeping, cowardly thing, a sickness that ate away at her from the inside, slowly consuming the light within, so that her eyes grew a little less bright with each passing day and her skin a little more pale.

And as she was stolen away from him, piece by piece, the boy became more and more afraid of finally losing her entirely. He wanted her to stay. He had no brothers and no sisters, and while he loved his father it would be true to say that he loved his mother more. He could not bear to think of a life without her.

The boy, whose name was David, did everything that he could to keep his mother alive. He prayed. He tried to be good, so that she would not be punished for his mistakes. He padded around the house as quietly as he was able, and kept his voice down when he was playing war games with his toy soldiers. He created a routine, and he tried to keep to that routine as closely as possible, because he believed in part that his mother's fate was linked to the actions he performed. He would always get out of bed by putting his left foot on the floor first, then his right. He always counted up to twenty when he was brushing his teeth, and he always stopped when the count was completed. He always touched the taps in the bathroom and the handles of the doors a certain number of times: odd numbers were bad but even numbers were fine, with two, four and eight being particularly favourable, although he didn't care for six because six was twice three and three was the second part of thirteen, and thirteen was very bad indeed.

Plot summary:

'Once upon a time, there was a boy who lost his mother !' As twelve-year-old David takes refuge from his grief in the myths and fairytales so beloved of his dead mother, he finds the real world and the fantasy world begin to blend. That is when bad things start to happen. That is when the Crooked Man comes. And David is violently propelled into a land populated by heroes, wolves and monsters in his quest to find the legendary Book of Lost Things.

What I thought:

This book was ok. It’s not really my favourite kind of read, a sort of fantasy/ fairytale type book. It is rather gruesome in places, so perhaps not the normal take of fairytales, but certainly interesting. It was an interesting premise, and there were probably layers to this book that I missed but whilst the book was perfectly readable, I did not find it quite as engaing as I might have hoped.

If you read the edition with the red cover, there are about 150pages at the end that explain all the fairytales that the book then builds on etc, which can help to set the scene of it more.

You can also look at the website The Book of Lost Things for some more insights.

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