The Book of Lost Things
by John Connolly
“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
This is a new book to add to my Winter Challenge, point 6 of the list, though I bought it before I decided to start my own Winter Challenge.
The final vote is 5 snowflakes out of 5.
After The Little Prince and The Hobbit that will always be my favourite books ever, I can easily say that this book is my third favourite one.
The story is perfectly told, it enchanted me since the very first page.
The beginning is quite depressing, but it is necessary to give to the reader a complete and detailed picture of the protagonist’s life and character.
It is described in such a precise and realistic way that it is easy to think if the author actually experienced in his life the same events of David, the protagonist.
John Connolly had the outstanding ability to combine and adapt different worldly known fairy tales with the new and untold story of David.
I personally loved John Connolly’s adaptation of Snow White, it is one of my favourite chapters of the book.
Maybe the reason why I enjoyed this chapter is because I have never admire, or love, or even appreciate the character of Snow White, and in particular, the version given by Walt Disney’s movie in1937.
Snow White has never been, and will never be, a nice princess for me, and the version given by Mr Connolly is, in a way, a representation of my personal idea of her.
The fantastic aspect of this book is that it can be read in two main different ways; the first one is the easiest way, in other words, it can be read by children and adults.
For the adults, they can read it just for their own pleasure, they can read it without paying attention to the metaphors or hidden meanings of its pages.
The second way is the one only for adults; this time they must pay attention to the metaphors and hidden messages given by the author to be able to understand completely the story.
In my opinion, Mr Connolly had the possibility to re-adapt any fairy tale because they have a particular “nature”; what I mean is that fairy tales have different versions because they represent different cultures, and so they give us different messages due to the culture in which they were born.
Not only the culture, but also the time in which they were created is another relevant aspect that allows anyone to change any fairy tale according to his or her own purpose.
So, with fairy tales and the new story of David the author could transmit to us the messages he wanted to talk about, he was able to talk about certain themes, such as the passage from childhood into adulthood that is one of the most relevant and important of the whole story, in a easy and clear way.
Anyone can read this book learning something different from all the other readers, or just noticing something different from the others.
The last pages of the book reminded me, in a way, Tom Burton’s Big Fish, but I can’t tell you more about it or I will spoil you the end of the book.
If you have never read this book, do it.
I personally do recommend the edition with the notes of the author (that is the one I have), because when you finish the story you have a section written by the author himself where he explains the fairy tales he put into his novel, why he chose these ones, and which are the major themes that they share with David’s story.