This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Book Review: The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue

I don't know how I added this book to my list. I would have read the summary about this book and would have thought "hmmm, this sounds like a book I'll want to read" and then CLICK, I would add it to my wish list with the local library system.

This book has been on my wish list for a good year or so, so I thought it was time to read it. When I read the first few lines:
Don't call me a fairy. We don't like to be called fairies anymore.
If you must give me a name, call me hobgoblin.

Or better yet, I am a changeling...We kidnap a human child and replace him or her with one of our own.

And this is a good summary of what this book is all about.

And I am not a fan of fantasy, especially the idea of reading about fairies, elves, hobgoblins.

Henry Day, the human child of seven years old, is taken by a clan of hobgoblins. The real Henry Day then "dies" and is reborn as Aniday the newest member of the hobgoblin clan.

The hobgoblin who becomes Henry Day is taken into Henry Day's home and his life.

And the story is narrated by both Aniday and Henry Day. Every other chapter is spoken by either one. We learn about how Aniday adjusts to being with other elves, living off the forest, missing his family -- and eventually, forgetting much of his family life -- and never growing old, past his forever age of seven years old.

Henry Day, on the other hand, becomes 'human'. He has to stretch parts of his bones and flesh to "grow". But because Henry Day - the changeling - was once a little boy himself (stolen by changelings), he is getting fleeting memories of his original human life as Gustav Ungerland. Gustav was a promising piano player when the changelings took him in 1851.

How does this story line sound to you? For me, I would NEVER have picked this one up to read. In fact, after only those first three paragraphs, I almost shut it for good, But it's only 319 pages and all books can't be "the bomb", and I thought it would expand my repertoire.

I can't say that I didn't enjoy it but it certainly wasn't a great book. It is actually very sorrowful: children being stuck as wild animals of the forest. And a human family who senses that their child is different but never knowing that their child is NOT their child.

The author tries to throw in a few of the myths surrounding what cultures think about "real" changelings, elves and hobgoblins, but the story is so dreary that anything lighthearted just doesn't come out that way.

I am glad to get passed this one. Do I feel a sense of accomplishment for taking this one on? Not really. I don't know about this OCD behavior that I have about finishing a novel I start.

Now, it's on to finishing the Twilight series. YAY! I've missed you Edward Cullen.

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