Lost Christmas by David Logan
When Goose’s parents are killed in a car crash on Christmas Eve, his life changes. Living with his increasingly senile Nan, his dog Mutt is the only thing keeping him sane. His only other friend is Frank, a former friend of his father. Frank’s own life is falling apart and he has recruited Goose to help him carry out petty theft around the city. A year to the day since the accident that changed his life, Goose meets Anthony, a strange man who has forgotten who he is, but seems to know more about others than they know about themselves. When Mutt goes missing, Goose has no choice but to rely on Anthony to help find him. In an adventure that draws in Frank, who’s lost his family, an old lady who’s lost a precious bangle, an elderly doctor who’s lost his wife and mother who’s lost her daughter, Goose follows Anthony across Manchester. But at the centre of the mystery is Anthony himself: who is he, how does he know so much and can he help Goose and the others find what they’re searching for?
When I received this from the publishers, I don’t think I expected much from this novel, I have to say. There’s something about Christmas fiction that just makes me want to stay far away from it, it all becomes a little too cliché and cheesy for my liking. However, Lost Christmas really is the exception. It’s been described as ‘It’s A Wonderful Life meets modern Manchester’ and it’s easy to see why.
What I loved most about this novel is this isn’t just a fickle, two-dimensional story about someone having a hard time but finding happiness at Christmas. This story has tonnes of heart that not only comes from its main character, Goose, but from the whole cast of characters. With Goose’s parents dead, his life has now turned upside down. All he has left is his dog Mutt, his senile grandmother, and Frank, a former friend of his father. I found Frank to be the most intriguing character, without a doubt; which might sound slightly odd, as you would probably expect that to be Anthony, the mysterious man who has forgotten his own identity, but seems to know an awful lot about everyone he meets, and is able to help them find things they have lost. Although he is indeed intriguing, he does feel like somewhat of a plot device used to bring all the other characters together. It also doesn’t take you long to figure out exactly who Anthony is, and once you’ve worked that out, any mystery he held has now vanished. Frank, however, first comes across as someone you wouldn’t want to mess with. He helps Goose trade items for money, and seems like somewhat of a shady character, that is until the story delves into his past, and his work as a firefighter. Frank has led a tragic life, just like Goose, and the two of them together have a great relationship that really shines through in the novel. I won’t delve into too much about Frank here, for fear of spoilers!
As a reader, you will inevitably feel a lot for poor Goose, but you will be rooting for him all the way as he takes a look upon his own life as a thief, and is taught a very important life lesson on sparing a few thoughts to the people he has stolen from. Goose soon learns that any items he has stolen may have an important significance to its owner – one that can never be replaced.
David Logan has written a lovely novel here that all children should read this Christmas. Not only is it humorous and moving, but it also has some rather profound moral messages behind it that will make its readers think. Lost Christmas will make a lovely addition to a child’s stocking this Christmas, but the real heart of the book will stay with them all year round.
Lost Christmas has been adapted into a one-off television programme that aired on Sunday 18th December, starring Eddie Izzard. If you missed it, then be sure to look out for the repeat on Christmas Eve! I know I will be! 🙂
Lost Christmas is out now, published by Quercus. Thanks goes to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.
- Lost Christmas (hamiltonhodell.wordpress.com)