Rummanah Aasi
   Like many children, I grew up reading, listening or watching adaptations of fairy tales or folktales on tv. Albeit, they were mostly from Disney and almost all of them had a "and they lived happily ever after" at the end where the good were awarded and the evil were punished. As I look back as an adult, I realize that all the famous fairy tales and folktales did not have a happy ending nor was their audience small children even though children sometimes played the lead roles. Why are these stories so important? Are they made to tell a lesson, which happen to be adapted several times and passed down from one generation to the next? Or are these stories a reflection of our own nightmares and dreams? The last question is asked in John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things.

Description: Twelve year old David mourns the loss of his mother. He refers to his books, once treasures to his beloved mother, as a way to cope with her death and to keep him company. As his anger at her death and his father's new life grows with each day, the books begin to speak to him, telling their wild tales of dragons, princes, and knights. Soon reality and fantasy collide. David suddenly himself in a land unlike his own, where monsters, evil sorceresses, and werewolves dwell. Will David ever find his way back home or will he remain in the fantasy world alone? 

Review: The Book of Lost Things is a well written novel that reads like a Tim Burton movie. Not only do the lines of fantasy and reality blur, but also the development from childhood to adulthood. While in the 'otherland', one can not help but get lost and forget what is happening in the real world. All the reader knows for a time setting is that World War II has begun. The author makes a good use of twisting the famous fairy tales such as "The Little Red Riding Hood" and "Snow White" among many others to his advantage. These tales are closer to their Brothers Grimm counterpart. It is obvious that particular tales were chosen to represent David's own fear of getting a new stepmother, being forgotten or replaced by a step-sibling. I thought the ending, which wasn't a total surprise for me, was well done and challenges the reader to look at the stories through the eyes of an adult instead of a child.  

Rating: 4 stars

Words of caution: Although David is 12 years old at the beginning of the novel and famous fairy tales are mentioned in the book, this is not a book for children. There is lots of gore and violence.

If you like this book, try: Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link or The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
1 Response
  1. Jules Says:

    Ok, you caught me. I was a childhood fan of Fractured Fairytales and this sounds like a good read!

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