The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly was a wonderful story rife with fantastical adventure full of nostalgia that reminded me why not only why I believed in the things I did in my childhood, but why I read too. As an adult, it is definitely harder to tap into my imagination compared to when I was kid.
One of the top components that I loved about this novel was how it incorporated darker elements, similar to the original fairytales (from what I’ve heard). I also really liked Connolly created the world and succinctly gave realistic explanations for why the world that David found was the way it was. Connolly’s writing was descriptive without being overdone.
“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
Our young main hero of the story, David, is twelve and had just gone through the painful experience of slowly losing his mother. To me, David is on that precipice between childhood and teenager, the not-quite-adulthood. Not only is it hard for David to go through the experience of losing his mother and then the aftermath, but sometime later his father finds himself with a pregnant girlfriend, then new wife and child. Another experience that David does not wish to go through, but has no choice or control. So he dives back into his imagination and books and inevitable finds himself on quite the adventure in this new fairytale-like world. He discovers what is important and the want to find his way back home to his new family grows.
“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”
While I loved everything about the overall story, I did find the ending bittersweet. I mostly think that I feel that way because we get a short glimpse into David when he’s a young adult and beyond. For me (I’m sure many other adult readers), the whole story hit home. I am about to turn 26 and while I’m still figuring out this ‘adulting’ thing, I’m still an adult; one who yearns for the adventure of childhood on many days. It definitely makes me grateful for all the adventure that I am able to find in books.
“I think the act of reading imbues the reader with a sensitivity toward the outside world that people who don’t read can sometimes lack. I know it seems like a contradiction in terms; after all reading is such a solitary, internalizing act that it appears to represent a disengagement from day-to-day life. But reading, and particularly the reading of fiction, encourages us to view the world in new and challenging ways…It allows us to inhabit the consciousness of another which is a precursor to empathy, and empathy is, for me, one of the marks of a decent human being.” -John Connolly
This is one of those books that I would highly recommend! It was such an enjoyable read and I look forward to looking into his other works.
Have you read this novel? What did you think of it?
Reading Challenge Prompts Satisfied:
Sorry, I’m Booked 2017 Monthly Theme Reading Challenge: Irish Author