The Book Of Lost Things

The dedication of The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly reads “For in every adult dwells the child that was, and in every child lies the adult that will be.” Nothing could better describe this dark fairy tale, a coming of age story about a boy named David.  When his mother dies, she leaves her love of books with him.  He transfers all the love he had for her into the books she left behind.  As World War II begins, David’s father remarries and has a new son, leaving David feeling betrayed and sending him deeper into his books.  Soon the lines between reality and fantasy begin to fade and David finds himself trapped in another world and unable to find his way home.

Like many lonely children, he is at first excited to find himself in a new world, but he quickly learns this world is just as violent and unfriendly as the one he left behind.  Talking wolves who walk on two legs hunt David as he makes his way through the land trying to find his way home.  Making friends along the way, David quickly learns that no one’s life is perfect and we all have our sorrows to bear.  In the end he must find the King, a man who’s lost control of his own land, if he ever hopes to return to the life he left behind, a life he misses more every day he is away from it.

Told through the eyes of a boy as he starts to become a man, David’s change from a sad, selfish boy to a brave, selfless boy is subtle and believable. This book is hard to put down once you get started. While the overarching story is engaging and easy to read, some of the best parts are the tales others tell David. These appear as short fairy tales within the book, and are reflections of the fairy tales we all know, but twisted and dark the way the Grimm brothers might have first told them.

The Book Of Lost Things is one of the few books I’ve read that I consider a fairy tale for adults and I highly recommend it. If you can think of others I should try, please let me know in the comments, because I’m always looking for similar books!

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