Book Review: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

by V. Shalace [June 2, 2021]

When David’s mother passes away after a year of struggling with illness, all he wants is to get her back and for everything to somehow return to the way it was. Unwilling to accept the truth of her death and unable to cope with his father’s new marriage, he follows the sound of his mother’s voice into an old garden and finds himself stranded in a dark world where the stories from his beloved fairytales are horribly and terrifyingly real. In order to return home, David embarks on a journey through this strange, starving land to find the king and his Book of Lost Things—a journey shaped by his own fears, doubts, and nightmares.

Despite its use of fairytales, this is not a children’s story. There are many mature themes and a great deal of blood and violence. The retellings of stories are rather macabre, probably influenced by Grimm’s Fairytales.

This story is, in large part, a story about growing up and dealing with the evils in one’s own heart.

I did like how David learns about living and about human beings through a series of stories told to him by the people that he meets along his journey, and the fairytale variations were interesting. However, I did not find reading this book to be a particularly enjoyable experience. I think that perhaps it’s because the entire atmosphere of the story was so incredibly dark and full of despair—even if the ending was technically a positive one. There were no lighter events and very little humor to balance out the darkness.

Overall, this story was well woven and there were some good lessons in it, but it’s probably not the story you want if you’re looking to relax for a while.

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