Monday, September 17, 2007

Lost Boys (A Becky Review)

I read Lost Boys for the R.I.P. II Challenge and the Read the Author Challenge. I had avoided it for years quite honestly because it is not really my kind of book. The premise is simple, what if a boy's "imaginary" friends weren't imaginary. What if they were ghosts. What if a boy's changed behavior wasn't the result of a cross-country move, what if their new house was the burial ground for kidnapped and murdered children. What if he was the only one who could see them, hear them, talk with them. What if no one believed your story. Meet Stevie. A young boy--seven and eight--who is the 'sensitive' one in his family. Thought to be odd by his classmates, Steve's insight isn't as imaginary as folks think. The oldest child--with two younger siblings and another on the way--the year of 1983 is a living nightmare. His father, devastated by the economic recession gets a job as a writer of computer manuals. He was a game programmer. A rather successful one. The mother is lost in taking care of her children and busying herself with church work. Neither is quite aware of the dangers that await them in this small town in North Carolina.

It's an uncomfortable read that never gets any easier. Why? It paints the horrors of humanity--the depravity of man--in a thoroughly realistic and haunting way. Though there is 'one' main threat, the sickness and cruelty of the human race surround this family. The coworker who is a bit too insistent on babysitting. The teacher whose cruelty is just unspeakable. The neighbor who is quite possibly certifiably crazy yet off his medication. And then there is the serial killer/child molester. This seemingly "normal" and "safe" neighborhood is anything but. And that is what makes Lost Boys so scary. The fact that even though these are cautious parents who want only the best for their children, in some ways they are helpless to protect them. It is what you don't know that may come back to haunt you when all is said and done.


Nicola said...

Wonderful review, Becky! This certainly is one that huants you ever afterwards. I haven't read too many of Cards books yet, but after Ender this is my favourite so far.

alisonwonderland said...

my husband and i listened to Lost Boys during a vacation trip back in 1993 or so. i remember sitting in a restaurant parking lot just listening (when we should have been going in to eat) because it was so gripping. it definitely is a haunting tale though - i still think of it sometimes, all these years later.

great review!

Chris said...

This is definitely one of Card's most emotional books! It's one of my favorites, but not one that I could read over and over again. I tend to recommend it to people with the warning that it's a tough one emotionally!

Becky said...

I agree, Chris. I don't know if I could go back to it. Not that I didn't like it. I did. It was just so heart-wrenching. Very emotional. Very haunting. Just so tragic. I don't think I'll ever forget it. But it's not one I'll be reading every year like Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead.