Wow, now I know what you get when you mix a bit of Pan's Labyrinth
with [b:Where the Wild Things Are|19543|Where the Wild Things Are|Maurice Sendak|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327878051s/19543.jpg|3020535], [b:The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories|49011|The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories|Angela Carter|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348808640s/49011.jpg|47950], everything Grimm, and a little extra creepiness. I'll have a hard time forgetting the extremely disturbing scenes between David, the Huntress, and her "creations". It's amazing what trauma and grief can wring out of a child's imagination.
Ultimately, The Book of Lost Things
is about grief, loss, and their impact on the transition from childhood to adulthood. Connolly's depiction of David's despair over his mother's deterioration and death really resonated with me. I felt so sorry for David! And I ached for stepmother Rose as she tried to fit into the family marked by recent tragedy. The ending borders on feel-good with relationships healed, but it's also clear that the pains experienced in childhood never simply disappear. We don't grow out of our sense of loss. Grief changes us forever.
It's interesting to me that my favorite quote is from Connolly's dedication: "For in every adult dwells the child that was, and in every child lies the adult that will be." I also found his thoughts on what I'll call "proactive grief" insightful:
'But I feared more the death of others. I did not want to lose them, and I worried about them while they were alive. Sometimes, I think that I concerned myself so much with the possibility of their loss that I never truly took pleasure in the fact of their existence.'
Sounds depressingly like my own inner life as a child! David's sensitivity and story-based adventures felt so familiar to me, making for an uncomfortable read at times.
Sure it's creepy and uncomfortably psychologically astute, but The Book of Lost Things
is also a very interesting and entertaining read. Read it, but don't let young children anywhere near it.