The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

Book Info
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
©2006 Atria Books, New York, NY
ISBN 978-0743298858

Plot Summary
Books have always been important to 12-year-old David, but as he mourns the death of his mother, they have mostly become his only company. His father soon remarries and moves David to the country to live with his new step mom, where he is given a room filled with books. David is angry that his mother was replaced so easily by this new woman and the baby on the way, but becomes distracted by his books whispering to him and strange figures in his room. One day while he is in the garden, he sees a German bomber falling towards the garden and with few options, jumps through a crack in the garden wall. At once, he is transported to a bizarre world with all kinds of creatures and monsters, complete with an eccentric King. David must find the King and his mysterious “Book of Lost Things” in order to finally get back home.

Reader’s Annotation
As he mourns his mother’s death, 12 year-old David finds comfort in books. But when he is thrust into a magical fantasy world where fairy tales are more like reality, he must embark on an odyssey to find the King and his “Book of Lost Things” to finally get home.

Critical Evaluation
Connolly does an impressive job of weaving fairy tale and major life issues such as death, grief and recovery in this story of a young boy dealing with the loss of his mother. Through escapism, a young boy copes with the death of his mother and grows emotionally and mentally while struggling to find his way through a strange, violent and dangerous world. In the beginning the book seems like many other children’s books, but as the story progresses it evolves into a very adult dark fantasy. Connolly takes classic fairy tales and puts his own complex, and sometimes dark and twisted, spins on them. These fairy tales are spun into the back story of the larger plot at play. This concept of reinterpretation is not a new model, but Connolly does a good job of fitting it into his story and reinventing with his own unique touch.

Information about the Author
John Connolly was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1968 and has, at various points in his life, worked as a journalist, a barman, a local government official, a waiter and a dogsbody at Harrods department store in London. He studied English in Trinity College, Dublin and journalism at Dublin City University, subsequently spending five years working as a freelance journalist for The Irish Times newspaper, to which he continues to contribute.

His first novel, Every Dead Thing, was published in 1999, and introduced the character of Charlie Parker, a former policeman hunting the killer of his wife and daughter. Dark Hollow followed in 2000. The third Parker novel, The Killing Kind, was published in 2001, with The White Road following in 2002. In 2003, John published his fifth novel—and first stand-alone book—Bad Men. In 2004, Nocturnes, a collection of novellas and short stories, was added to the list, and 2005 marked the publication of the fifth Charlie Parker novel, The Black Angel. John’s seventh novel, The Book of Lost Things, a story about fairy stories and the power that books have to shape our world and our imaginations, was published in September 2006, followed by the next Parker novel, The Unquiet, in 2007, The Reapers, in 2008 The Lovers, in 2009, and The Whisperers, the ninth Charlie Parker novel, in 2010.

John Connolly is based in Dublin but divides his time between his native city and the United States, where each of his novels has been set.

Visit the author’s website.

Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

Curriculum Ties
English, History

Booktalking Ideas
Discuss escapism, and aside from books, what are some examples of other modes of escape?

Discuss David’s evolution throughout the book.

Reading Level/ Interest Age

Challenge Issues

Why Included?
A friend recommended this book and it sounded like something I would enjoy reading and something that would be interesting for older teens.


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