Book Review


Chen Keller, Sophie - The Luster of Lost Things - COVER.jpg
The Luster of Lost Things
Author: Sophie Chen Keller
Primary Format: eBook, courtesy of PENGUIN GROUP (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Start Date: September 14, 2017
End Date: September 24, 2017
Rating: 4 stars


Walter Lavender Sr. had his story and so did Lucy and so did everyone who lost things, and they were a million points of light in my solitary darkness: these stories like stars, illuminating the silent nights.

The Luster of Lost Things was so unexpectedly beautiful. I was drawn in by the cover and was not disappointed.

Walter Lavender Jr. is a finder, using his gift to help people around the city who have lost important items, anything from dogs to bassoons, yet unable to use it to locate his own lost father. He spends most of his time in his mother’s bakery – The Lavenders – a place where desserts come to life, thanks to the magic of the Book. However, when the book is lost, he must go on a journey through New York City to find it. Along the way, he meets the lost people of the city who, like him, just want to be found and belong.

Even though The Luster of Lost Things is told through the eyes of a twelve-year-old boy, a boy full of naivety and innocence, Walter Lavender Jr. is also mature and independent for his age. Though young, Walter grapples daily with the loneliness that stems from his father’s disappearance as well as his speech disorder. His one constant companion, besides his mother, is his dog, Milton.

As he journeys through the city, he meets a lot of people who are dealing with issues of solitude, homelessness, loss, and grief, each in their own way. However, when we see these situations through Walter’s eyes, suddenly these issues don’t seem quite as dire.

In these people that he meets, Walter could see pieces of himself. He could see the isolation and feel their pain, but he wanted to help them live a better life as best as he knew how, and by doing this, he helped them to realize that there is always hope and things will get better. He learned to live as his father would have done – living in the moment and helping people from being in the right place at the right time. During his journey, he learns about life and his new friends, but he also learns about himself.

Although this book is categorized as “magical realism,” with a very ethereal quality to the writing, the “magic” didn’t seem totally far-fetched. If you want you can treat it like a metaphor for whatever you want it to be: that’s the beauty of this book. Ultimately, it is a story about not taking the little things for granted and, even if you feel lost and alone, it is important to remember there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

Within the shop is without a doubt where my world begins, but I let so many things keep me there – my longing for warmth and connection, my desire for certainty, my fear. It cannot be my whole world anymore, and perhaps that was the true lesson Walter Lavender Sr. knew I needed to learn: out there might be dark places to be afraid of and lonely islands to escape from and terrifying heights to fall down, but what also awaits are more places to see and people to know and friends to make and experiences to share, and what could be more worth the pain than to open up and let yourself be a part of a sweeping story?

Thank you to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP (G.P. Putnam’s Sons) for a copy of this eBook in exchange for an honest review.


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