The Book of Lost Things

Title: The Book of Lost Things
Author: John Connolly
Publisher: Atria Books, 2006
Number of pages: 339
Rating: 3 out of 5

After happily delving into this book, I struggled with it until the last twenty pages. It was filled with such darkness that I wondered how I could finish it.

Initially, I found myself comparing it to Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart. Both books have a masterful way of including a love of literature, as well as element of fairy tale, within the characters’ lives. But, very quickly The Book of Lost Things became so convoluted that I felt almost as lost as David wandering through the forest, constantly taunted by The Crooked Man.

The Crooked Man is a very real trickster. Deceived by his lies, we must be careful not to believe his efforts to tarnish the good that we have in our lives. This part of the book, especially as it is so neatly concluded at the end, was my favorite part.

As David accomplishes his journey, with courage and strength, he learns the valuable lesson that our love cannot change things; it cannot save the lovers and children we hold so dear. At the same time, he learns to accept, if not cherish, that which he does have instead of longing for what is lost.

If anyone can grasp those lessons from a book (for who among us has not suffered loss?), it is a book well written indeed.

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23 thoughts on “The Book of Lost Things”

  1. Sandy, I like to believe that love can change things, too, but it can't bring back someone who's died. This, I think is one of Connelly's points: how do we deal with the loss we feel from death of a loved one? I guess I should have made that clearer in my review.Plus, I doubt very much that you have your head up your butt. Any more than the rest of us!

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  2. Lorraine, or, you might pick it up at the library.DesLily, you're right. Now that I think about it fairy tales really are dark. Somehow, though, it broke my heart about his mother dying, and him believing that she was still available to him through the Crooked Man's games. I like your point about getting through the rough parts of life at any age. Even an adult, like me, can learn through lessons in fairy tales.

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  3. I love this book so much. I agree with DesLily that fairy tales are normally very dark stories, it is contemporary society that has made them into the "happily ever after" stories that they are seen as today. I love King Jonathan as well and felt so bad for him. I was glad that David was lucky enough to learn Jonathan's story before making his own decision.

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  4. Grace. that's so true. We need examples from others to help us on our path, and Jonathan had an important lessons for David. (As I write this, I'm wondering if there's any Biblical connection to Jonathan and David on the Old Testament, remember they were best friends before being separated by King Solomon?)

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  5. I've heard mixed things about this one, but enough good that I decided to seek it out. It's been sitting on my floor for months (I'm so unorganized right now!), so I've vowed to pick it up for the Once Upon a Time challenge. I'm glad you at least found the ending of this one satisfying…?

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  6. Chris, I'm not surprised. You are so good with fantasy!Trish, it was a greatly satisfying ending; one of the best things about reviewing a book is reading everyone's comments. Blogging friends add a fresh insight or perspective that make me want to reread some books from a new angle. I'm sure I'll be picking this up again, especially as Chris loves it. 😉

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  7. I always get the same feelings from the comments as well. I love that you guys challenge what I think and make me see things from a different light. Now–if we could all just find the time to go back and re-read. 😛

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  8. Sounds like a valuable lesson in acceptance. That's one we all struggle with. Very nice review :)Congrats on finishing the Manga Challenge…Isn't it wonderful feeling to complete a challenge! I love that!Have a Beautiful Weekend, Bellezza!

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  9. I just picked this one up from the library this week and am really looking forward to it. I just skimmed your review as I haven't had a chance to pick it up yet but hopefully soon!

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  10. Ah, I love this book! The first time I picked it up I couldn't get past the first chapter, but (much later) I tried it again and it became one of my favourite books.

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  11. Broke or not Belle, I'm silly, I must OWN a book, I can't borrow…maybe it's because I often read several books at the time, I'm moody like that, so a book can take me months to read and another a few days, it depends 😉 lol

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  12. I agree that it was a dark story, and I also thought the last chapter was incredibly powerful. I don't think it's a book I could say I "loved," because it was so dark and violent, but it had a powerful impact on me with it's ultimate message about loss, grief, and acceptance … and that's what lingers for a long time after reading it.

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  13. Hmmmm, loss, grief, death of a loved-one… wonder if this is one for me. Sometimes I can really glean quite a bit of helpful information from books with these elements and other times they're too painful. Certainly sounds like an interesting read, but probably one I'll hold off on until after the end of May.

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  14. Trish, no kidding: reread? Who has the time?! At least we encourage each other in broadening our perspectives, or at least in remembering what we have read.Chic Geek, the manga challenge was an easy one to finish. I'm not a huge graphic novel fan, but I did like the whole new experience of reading the books backwards to forwards, and right to left. Ticking off one's challenge list is a great feeling of accomplishment, though!Samantha, I'll be looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Fantasy lovers really love this one, but it's not my top favorite genre. Still, I enjoyed the lessons to be had from reading it.Marineko, isn't it funny how sometimes a book needs a few attempts? That's happened to me with The God of Small Things, and Possession, the later of which I loved. I still have never completed The Life of Pi, though. Thanks for visiting me.Lorraine, I'm a chronic Can't Return Books On Time girl. I think I paid for the library's new wing all on my own.Robin, you said in one brief comment what I tried to say in my whole review. Exactly!Lesley, I think for both of us who've suffered tremendous loss that the message is ultimately redeeming. The trail through the woods, and all the creepiness he discovers there was ick, but I think the idea that remains at the end is encouraging.

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  15. It's a dark book, that's for sure! But I guess I was expecting the darkness for the same reasons as Deslily. Did your edition have the extra material (the original fairy tales and notes from the author) at the end? That was fascinating to read!

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