The Lost is a mixed bag that I still ended up enjoying. Although I think Durst’s transition to adult made her feel as if she needed to strip down her writing style (a lot of the sentences are very short) otherwise I think her first foray into adult fiction was a successful one.
The aforementioned prose either became less stunted as time went on, or I became more used to it. Durst finds her flow once Lauren becomes situated to Lost and her life there. The idea of Lost is a fascinating one, although maybe not overly original (after all, the same idea appears in a Halloweentown movie, although in the form of a house.) Wallets end up there, as do dogs and even houses lost to foreclosure. People end up there too, as Lauren accidentally does.
The exploration of Lost and how it operates was well defined and thought out. Lauren’s relationship with the Finder and little Claire were touching, although I will say that the primary mystery of who Lauren was to the Missing Man was a tad predictable, even if it hasn’t been entirely revealed yet.
The main point of The Lost, however, is Lauren’s development as a character and her relationship with her mother. I enjoyed seeing a healthy relationship between mother and daughter here, and the resolution to it is a gut punch right in the feelings. You will need tissues. As much as Lauren annoyed me in the beginning of the novel, I did enjoy seeing her grow as a character and get over the traits that irritated me at first.
If there were a critique I had with The Lost, it’s the relationship between the Finder Peter and Lauren. Peter is a sort of quirky character, constantly reciting lines from old classical novels, plays and poems. Generally, he’s charming. But a lot of the time, he speaks down to Lauren. Never maliciously, to him he’s only stating obvious facts, but it has the same effect: Lauren, who already has a trouble with self-esteem, takes it badly. Her reactions are generally laughed off and she soon forgets any of her issues with Peter because, hey, he’s hot after all, and one of the only ways she can survive in Lost.
At one point Claire states that Peter teases Lauren because he likes her, and I actually cringed away from the screen. I hate this myth and I wish it wouldn’t be repeated in fiction everywhere. Peter also sleeps in Lauren’s bedroom closet without her knowing. She calls him out on it being creepy the day after, but again is laughed off and no one really takes her complaints to heart. Nothing’s more romantic than a guy creepin’ on a woman in her sleep and constantly saying she isn’t interesting enough to cause such a commotion in the town!
But despite that admittedly huge obstacle, I’m still left a fan of The Lost. Enough so that I want to see what happens in the second book of the trilogy, The Missing.