Young David's life is turned upside down when his mother dies. She instilled a love of reading in David. Near the end of her life, it was all they had together. Just a year later, his dad remarries and a baby is on the way. When they move into a big old house, David takes his mother's books with with him. David doesn't tell anyone that the books speak to him.
When his brother is born and his dad spends more time at work, the tension at home builds. He resents his new stepmother and half-brother. The books get louder in their new home and then the Crooked Man appears. One night David crosses over from the real world into the world of the books. It's a fairy tale world full of terrifying creatures. To get home David must find the Old King and the mysterious Book of Lost Things, although the Crooked Man offers him an alternative.
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly is a fairy tale for grown ups. Yes, I'd say for grown ups. There are some adult themes and violent scenes. Connolly's fairy tale world is imaginative and horrifying. I listened to this book on CD as I went about my day. I found it hard to put it aside.
Some of the tales within the story are frightening, some are quite funny. Most of them are recognizable although they have been reinvented and twisted to fit into David's strange world. He meets either helpful characters or evil characters- usually the bad ones were women, why is this? I wondered at the inclusion of some the the stories. I didn't think they were necessary to the plot.
David isn't always likable. He acts sulky and sometimes I had to remind myself that his mom did just die. The whole family is having a hard time. Baby Georgie cries all the time, stepmom Rose seems to be suffering from PPD and David's dad is trying his best but WW2 is upon them. I felt sympathy for all of them. By the end of the story, I saw that this is a book about growing up as well as a fairy tale. I was near tears at the end.
The Book of Lost Things is atmospheric, creepy and magical. Definitely a great read for a crisp autumn night.
***About the Audiobook*** Steven Crossley narrates the story. For the most part, I enjoyed his performance but found the female characters' voices grating. They were a little Monty Pythonish. The book is Unabridged: 10 CDs in all (11 hours).