Amy Reads Books

The Book of Lost Things

The Book of Lost Things (Trade Paperback) - John Connolly The Book of Lost Things is the story of David, a young boy who is torn apart by grief when his mother dies; and whose grief soon turns to anger when his father later marries Rose, and give David a half-brother, Georgie. One night, after a particularly strong fight with Rose, David is transported to a strange fairytale world. Here the stories we think we know are twisted beyond recognition and in order to return home, David finds himself torn between doing what he thinks is right and making a deal with the (very) Crooked Man.It's been a long time since I read a novel that truly transported me into another, fantasy world and Connolly's novel succeeded in truly pulling me into the weird world that he created. Personally, I loved the changes made to fairytales, I found it very refreshing. The idea that 'Loups', part man-part wolf, came from Red Riding Hood and The Wolf having had a proper relationship was pretty clever to me (and mirrors the idea in Sondheim's Into the Woods that Red Riding Hood's tale is kind of about sexual awakenings). Plus, I loved the 'new' Snow White terrorizing her Marxist seven dwarf companions, that part had me almost laughing out loud. These two were just some of the tales given the Connolly treatment, some of which I was familiar with, some of which I wasn't.Connolly used very simple, fairytale-esque language throughout the novel, which could make some people believe that it is basically a modern fairytale that kid's will love. But, unless this children are pretty hardy, then Connolly's tale is probably not for them. Even I felt a little squeamish at some of the descriptions of characters ripping themselves apart, and knights being impaled on thorns. This simple language made these descriptions all the more startling.Essentially, the novel is a coming-of-age story and Connolly does well to make David a convincing young child maturing. Other memorable characters include Roland, a knight and a rather sinister huntress whose section was pretty terrifying. Of course, The Crooked Man was also brought to life wonderfully, definitely the stuff of nightmares; a far creepier Rumpelstiltskin and if I'd been younger he would have probably haunted me.I generally really enjoyed this book, I personally felt the World War Two setting & David's father working as a decoder wasn't really used all that much and was brushed over quite quickly. Some of the ideas were a bit laboured as well, but it really did work as a very adult fairy tale.