During the long, lethargic summer months, I tend to build a bastion of novels to protect myself from imminent boredom. These novels create a cage made up of alternate realities and scenarios to feed my imagination and help it thrive. if I am unable to travel, I travel through pages. I am transported from the Middle East to England, and then to an enchanted forest quickly followed by a small, southern town. Time travel is also made possible by these treasured possessions. I take away new-found knowledge and unprecedented thoughts and opinions. In the words of Anna Quindlen,
“And then there were books, a kind of parallel universe in which anything might happen and frequently did, a universe in which I might be a newcomer but was never really a stranger. My real true world.”
In The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, I feel completely in my element and truly comfortable due to the plot, setting, and main character which offer me the sage advice to perseverance and to always seek the happy ending.
One key element in this book that made it fel real to me was the main character David to whom I felt connected in mind and spirit. David is a shy, twelve-year-old boy who has been taught since he was little to read and how to enjoy the stories. When his mother died suddenly from an illness, David was distraught and resolved to lose himself in the books, in which his mother’s memories were entwined, that littered his parent’s house. When his father remarries, David feels betrayed and takes comfort in the books he finds in his stepmother’s house. I have not lost a parent, but I can relate to the strong relationship which David shares with his mother and their bibliophilic manners. My mother has always told me, “Always finish reading a book, otherwise the characters will be frozen in their places forever.” Later in the book, when David is trying to find his mother in the enchanted forest where all of these fairy tales come true, he never gives up, no matter whether he runs from his deepest fears in the forest or sees one of his companions die before him. David has taught me to always persevere and to help whomever I can along the way.
Connolly’s masterfully created setting made me consume the book nearly whole. The setting of this book is during World War II and in several different locations. It takes place in London, where David lives in his mother’s house and later his stepmother’s house. In the garden of his stepmother’s house, he finds a crack in the wall into which he falls after a bomber plane crashes in the house’s yard. The descriptions of the enchanted forest where all of David’s fairy tales come to life are impeccably written and drag the readers into the plot where they feel as if they travel alongside David while he searches for his mother and the “Book of Lost Things.”
The Book of Lost Things is one of the greatest books I have read due to Connolly’s ability to make me enamored with that world and wish to never leave it. The ending of the book makes me understand the reasoning behind his departure, but I will always regret leaving the place where I found myself cozy in the binding. The plot, character, and setting of The Book of Lost Things were so well crafted that it would scarcely leave my thoughts during the day. It left me with valuable lessons and a case of nostalgia as I saw the fairy tales I read as a child reworked into this dark, phantasmagorical novel. I am positive that I will find many more books which follow Anna Quindlen’s words but, until that day, I will always find this book to be one that changed how I read and how I write.