I am a big fan of Orson Scott Card (and Stefan Rudnicki, who reads all of Orson Scott Card’s audiobooks). I have read (or listened to) almost all of Orson Scott Card’s books. My favorites are the Ender’s Game series and the two single books Pastwatch (a retelling of the Christopher Columbus story) and Enchantment (a retelling of sleeping beauty). I have read around two dozen books by Card altogether. But there are several I have not read. When playing around with the new overdrive app for ipad, I found Lost Boys. This is an older novel from 1992 but based on a short story that was written in the late 1980s.
The novel is set in the 1983 and it feels like it was greatly influenced by the current events of the time. This is a heavy book. I almost stopped listening to it a number of times because it was so heavy and depressing and I just knew that it was going to get darker and more depressing before it ended. This is a story about parent’s fear. The mother is very careful with her children, never lets them out of her sight. (If you have not, go read my review of Free-Range Kids for why this is a bad parenting style.)
But bad things still happen. These are good people that are trying hard, but there are a couple of bad decisions, a couple of unlucky turns in their life and they are stuck in a place they do not want to be, doing jobs they are not excited about in order to survive.
This is not a science fiction or fantasy novel like most of Orson Scott Card’s work. It is real life imagined through the eyes of Stephen King. The 1980s of this novel is concerned with child abduction and sex abuse. I do not think people are really less worried now than then, but now I think many parents know that the chances are fairly low of it happening to them. Yes, is horrible; yes, it is possible; no, it is not likely. But this novel is when these horrors were much newer and more “real”. (Again, after reading Free-Range Kids, I might be really, really wrong about this last paragraph.)
One interesting part of the book religious aspects. Card is Mormon, and frequently writes religious characters. Although most of the time his characters are Catholic. This is the only book I know of that have practicing Mormon characters. So the look into Mormon culture in the 1980s is interesting. The theology of the book is Mormon. As I understand Mormons this book views themselves as Christians, just a different denomination. But the characters of this book have a different understanding of grace than I do as a Christian. Part of what I find interesting about it, is that I think many Christians have the same understanding of grace and works and faith that the characters in Lost Boys have.
I am not a parent, but I am a full time nanny for my two nieces. This is a very hard book to listen to. I do not think it is a great book, but it is good. In some ways I like this better than Card’s recent Empire series (my review). As always children are a very important part of Card’s writing.
I listened to this on audiobook that I checked out from the Overdrive system. Overdrive is web-based system that your local library may subscribe to. You can then check out books and download them to an audio player. Depending on the audio player it may expire and not play after checkout period. There is an app for iphone/ipad/ipod touch that allows you to check out the book on your device and download it directly instead of hooking up your device to itunes and transferring it. The narrator on this, and most of Orson Scott Card books, is Stefan Rudnicki. He is a wonderful narrator and I now listen to all of Card’s books because he narrates them so well.