Set in the early 1980’s recession, Step Fletcher and his wife Deanne are forced to move their family to North Carolina for Step’s new job. They soon realize that the job is awful. Step has to bide his time until he can find a way to quit, while Deanne struggles to balance the kids and her church duties while pregnant. In the background of the story, there are young boys going missing in the town, causing the Fletchers to be weary and safety conscious and at times, overly-protective of their kids.
Their oldest son, eight year old Stevie, doesn’t adjust to the new town well. He has difficulties with his teacher and kids at school and begins to accumulate imaginary friends. Terrified that their son is going crazy, Step and Deanne work together to help him, eventually finding out that his imaginary friends are not as imaginary as they had thought at all.
Usually after reading a book, I take a glance at the Amazon reviews to gauge how others reacted to the book. While some might agree with me and some might disagree, I like to see how others think about what they’ve read. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen Amazon reviews which are as “all over the board” as Lost Boys. Some liked it. And even though many didn’t, they disliked it for many different reasons.
Probably the biggest complaint was that people felt the book was a commercial for Mormonism. It’s true that the Fletchers are Mormons and their religion plays a prominent role in the book, but I found this to be more interesting than distraction. Religion can add a certain depth to a character, providing them with a belief system and a place in the order of their world. I’ve read many books with characters from many religions and haven’t encountered this much negativity from readers as this book generated. It makes me wonder if the fact that the characters are Mormon and not Catholic or Baptist or Jewish that is the real reason why people have a problem with it. I found the insight into Mormon life fascinating, and it adds to the plot nicely.
One complaint that others had that I agree with is that the book tended to drag a bit. There is a lot of day-to-day life and issues that these characters go through that frankly should have been cut down to about half. Some explanation for daily activities is fine, but I found myself wanting to skip ahead several times.
Step’s issues with his employer played a prominent role in the first part of the book, but as things went on, this all became subplot. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On one hand, anyone who has suffered through a boring job with a nasty boss will relate to Step, and might even get a chuckle or two out of it. On the other hand, there was a point when the job issues wrapped up and weren’t mentioned much again. I felt the pacing of this subplot could have been timed to better coincide with the novel’s conclusion, giving a more climatic feel.
In the end, I enjoyed this book and am glad to have read it. This is the first Orson Scott Card novel that I’ve read. I will definitely be checking out Enders Game in the near future.