Lost & Found
Millie Bird, seven years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her red, curly hair. Her struggling mother leaves Millie in a local department store and never returns.
Agatha Pantha, 82, has not left her house or spoken to anyone since she was widowed seven years ago. Karl the Touch Typist, 87, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife’s skin. Now he types his words out into the air as he speaks.
A series of events binds the three together on a road trip from the south coast of WA to Kalgoorlie.
They will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise and that letting yourself experience sadness just might be the key to life.
Local Book Reviewers
This is a whimsical and, at times, bizarre tale of a seven-year-old girl whose character reminds me of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. It is a highly improbable adventure, disjointed with unruly rowdy behaviour and some crude language thrown in for good measure. It left me wondering if I was wacky even reading this rubbish.
Finally, coming to the end of the book, there was an article by the author called Relearning the World. I wish I had read this prior to embarking on the story or that the author had introduced it at the beginning of the book. I would then have had a much better understanding and sympathy for the characters portrayed and the fantasy that ensued.
I found this book very difficult to digest but after significant and recurrent reflux during the first 100 pages, my indigestion settled and I finished the course.
The death of the author’s mother, her subsequent deep grief and emotional loss, created this unusual fantasy and dreamlike story.
Three odd imaginary characters plus a plastic dummy undertake a journey to understand the meaning of life, death, regression to childhood, time, growing old, depression, hiding from society and sexual relations.
This book is very different and it gives some interesting insights into the path we all must travel.
I think the message is time passes and then you die. Everything dies. Make the most of the time you have.
It’s your time! I survived this book 4/10.
I might have enjoyed this book more if I had not read The Rosie Project.
The characters had a similar offbeat way of doing things. And the two older characters, Karl and Agatha, had that rule-breaking thing going, just like The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Yada Yada.
Millie, the central character is appealing. I enjoyed her time holed up in the department store. It was poignant, watching her wait for her mum to return and not giving up hope.
The story has some humour and lots of craziness as Millie and her two elderly friends seek out Millie’s mum.
The statement on the slip cover of this book compared it favourably to The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion (which I enjoyed immensely) ao I opened Lost & Found with eager anticipation. It didn’t take long to disappoint – a far-fetched tale with slow character development.
There were passages of vivid writing that evoked images that made me pause and savour them. The underlying theme of the ability to accept and change oneself was certainly there but somehow bogged down.
I understood it better after reading the article by the author (dealing with her own grief) at the end – perhaps if that had been at the beginning, it might have helped. It is likely some readers will find it irritating, as I did.
I tried. I really, really tried just to finish Lost & Found, but I failed. I had difficulty with every aspect of this book – the narrative, the characters, the dialogue of those characters and, in the end, I simply gave up. Sorry.
I found the child one-dimensional, Karl overly sentimental and Agatha downright annoying. The use of italics for the dialogue drove me crazy and the holes in the plot frustrating. It was just too twee and sentimental with little to recommend it.
Who could seriously believe that a seven-year-old child abandoned by her mother in a department store would respond so calmly, initiating conversations with complete strangers while avoiding detection by security staff – and that’s only the beginning. This book was not for me.
I found Lost & Found very difficult to get into and something of a chore to finish.
The further I read the more I considered the characters unlikely, the story improbable and the writing style different, but unremarkable.
Considerable imagination is required to embrace the adventure and courage of seven-year-old Millie, the activity of 87-year-old Karl and the transition of 82-year-old Agatha from reclusive eccentric to the determined saviour of Millie.
Even the ending is disappointing. Despite Agatha and Karl finding each other, Millie is another story.