This is topic Lost Boys in forum Discussions About Orson Scott Card at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by rjzeller (Member # 8536) on :
Okay, now I see why OSC stated that The Sixth Sense is so similar to this book. While the story lines do not seem at all related at first, clearly there are similarities.

To me the greatest thing about both stories is how, after you know the ending, everything else starts to make perfect sense.

I'm trying to to give anything away here, so please forgive me for any generalities. But this book I absolutely loved.

It had some slow points, and some (such as my mother) demanded of me to know where the plot was. I kindly admonished them to just finish the book first. It can give that sense of wandering, as though all you're doing is literally following the lives of this one Mormon family. But I think that's all necessary to make the end so effective.

But what impressed me was how Card presents the real villain to us immediately, and makes it so stunningly clear who the read bad guy is that we never notice it! When you get to the end of the book and find out, you wanna slap yourself stupid for not catching it earlier.

This is how the Sixth Sense worked. It's OBVIOUS what the real problem is ... but because of biases, prejuces, or stereotypes in both ourselves and the POV characters, we completely ignore the facts and start looking in all the wrong places.

Card handled this brilliantly. He gives us the real antagonist, and we completely overlook it. He does this without tricking us or hiding information or pulling any of the amatuerish tricks many of us aspiring authors employ. He gives us EVERYTHING we need to figure it out, and yet most readers are still sure to be suprised when they get to the end. There are so many other characters whom we're just SURE must be the problem.

I think Card truly understands human nature. We rule out possibilities or persons without even thinking about it because we just find it too easy to focus the attention or blame elsewhere. And just as with the Sixth Sense, only a young boy could have the clarity to see through everything and find the truth.

And I'll not even bother with how much he just nailed the LDS church in the South. I grew up in Missouri, and it's not too different there. I could almost name persons in my ward who matched the characters he depicted. Eerie....

anyway ... anyone else have feedback on this book? I know it get's long in spots, and you really do find yourself wondering at times "what's this all about?", but despite it all, I simply LOVED it.


Posted by KEGE (Member # 424) on :
"Surprised" would be the understatement of the year as to my reaction to finishing Lost Boys several years ago.

More like incredulous, in shock, in denial, devestated, angry and ready to check in the psych hostpital.

Like The Sixth Sense (which came out after I'd read the book and I still wasn't one of the people who figured it out before the end) - I went back over the whole book trying to find a mistake on OSC's part that would make ..


Stevie NOT dead! And I could NOT. And believe me I tried really, really hard to bring Stevie back to life.

It is a fantastic book and so much more emotionally involving than The Sixth Sense that in that respect they are not even comparable. The movie is a thriller - horror with a twist at the end. In Lost Boys, you live the life of the family, with the family, until you ARE a part of the family and it is almost that hard to let go of Stevie.

For me the "whodunnit" aspect was only a mechanism to keep you from realizing the truth about Stevie.
Posted by rjzeller (Member # 8536) on :
Okay, so two days after my mother called me demanding to know where the plot was, she phoned back again to tell me she didn't stop crying for over an hour.

"I can't believe you had me read that book..."

It really hit her...and to be honest, it had nearly the same effect on me (though of course, I didn't admit that to mommy!).

You're right -- you just become part of this family, and then poof...

And just like Ender's Game, I could see it coming all along, for page after page I just knew what was really going on and yet still, somehow.. Card managed to knock me over with that ending. Simply brilliant writing.

If more people aren't familiar with this book, they should be. It is perhaps the single most personal piece of fiction I've ever read....

Posted by Treason (Member # 7587) on :
It's so weird. I know this is one of OSC's favourite books, and he really was moved writing it, but I really don't get what all the fuss is. I don't like it at all. I see the point of this

:It is perhaps the single most personal piece of fiction I've ever read....

But I don't think the book did a great job of making me feel that. Maybe I am missing something human inside me...
Posted by KEGE (Member # 424) on :
I'm not sure why you didn't feel that way Treason. Perhaps you have never had any life experiences that would cause you to identity with the family and subsequently become part of that family.

I'm not sure how much before or after I read the book that the Card's son Charlie Ben died suddenly while they were on vacation, but having been at Hatrack then made the book even more moving. I would link you to Charlie Ben's memorial page but I don't know how to find it.

Perhaps it is actually says good things about your life that you didn't get as emotionally devastated by Lost Boys as some of us.
Posted by Shawshank (Member # 8453) on :
It's not per say (at least from what I've seen) OSC's favorite books, but rather one that was very intensely hard to write, which he is to this day (as far as I know) incapable of reading.

I read this book a few years ago- and then I read it about six months ago- and the second reading was just so much more powerful- probably because of added life experience and all that jazz. But- yeah when I first read it, people were asking what it was about and I was... I dunno... about a family I guess.

But that book really to me makes you feel like a member of the family, and also even though I'm not LDS- I have gone to church in the south my whole life- and yeah, it was pretty reminiscent to the point of laughter because he carried off those traits so well. (Especially the likes of Dolores LeSeur and Jenny- because they were so lifelike)
Posted by Irregardless (Member # 8529) on :
It's been a long time since I've read it, but it was the first novel I'd read that treated religion as a realistic part of characters' lives, which was refreshing.
Posted by Scullibundo (Member # 8521) on :
Speaking of similarities. Anybody ever realise how many similar things there are in the Halo universe to the Enderverse?
Posted by rjzeller (Member # 8536) on :
I can only speculate, and I'll give Treason the benefit of the doubt here, it's possibly becuase the book just doesn't touch a chord with her.

I am married, relatively early in my career, and my wife and I have three wonderful kids. Our oldest boy is as close to me as a child could be to his father. We are also members of the LDS church and we are very active in our faith. I have been through job loss and having to make similar adjustments.

And more directly, I lost a younger brother very suddenly and quite unexpectedly just after his 18th birthday. Perhaps there were enough parallels for me that it just hit too close to home. And I have no doubt it was a very personal book for Card to write, as it certainly became personal to me reading it.

So I can see if you don't have quite so many similarities how it may not affect you the same, though it still suprises me.

So anyway...all I can say is it really moved ME, and I'm not sure if I would be able to give it a second reading or not....


(I was really hoping Card would weigh in on this subject ... but if what Shawshank says is true -- and I suspect it is -- then I would imaging he'll be avoiding this little thread. That's okay, it's still a darned good book and I thank him for having written it).

[ August 25, 2005, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: rjzeller ]
Posted by Treason (Member # 7587) on :
Maybe it is that I don't have enough in common with the book.

I am female, I have no kids (but I'm 29, so I'm not a young kid) I am not religious, nor was I ever a mormon...

That might be it. But you'd think a powerful enough book would reach me anyway.

Posted by Roseauthor (Member # 148) on :
Shawshank's comments about OSC not being able to read the books are based on previous comments by Mr. Card about a month ago in thread.

The last time I read it was shortly after the death of OSC's son. I believe there were a number of us who read the book after reading about the Mr. Card's family loss as a sort of tribute. However, I had my own reasons.

The night that Mr. Card lost his son, my twin (then 17 yoa) daughters were riding their new bikes in a city we just moved to 5 weeks prior when a woman ran a redlight-at the rate of 55+mph in a residential, thereby striking one of the twins while her sister watched her twin fly over this car. We were lucky that a vehicle at the intersection got behind the speeding vehicle and she returned to the scene. I was informed that my daughter was in the hospital by fellow officers who came to my door.

We were lucky that night. She lived. Not only did she live, she didn't sustain a single broken bone or any major scaring. (However, her face and legs were terribly bruised and scraped up. And she had to go through a lot of test and therapy.) Since the day these girls were born at the hefty weight of 2 lbs (dropping to 1.5 lbs) we have fretted over, medicated, therapied, educated around dyslexia. Not to mention the child who was struck was also legally blind at one time, and legally deaf. (it took years to get her up to normal physically).. and then THIS! They were persecuted in school because of their shortness, the thick lense glasses, and this move was suppose to be a new start for them. They were finally healthy, normal children.

So when I finally read of the Card's loss, I fell on my face before God and appologized for my anger about all the things these girls have to endure. I picked up Lost Boys and started to read the book for the 3rd time for soooo many reason I can't even list. It was a source of strength, wisdom, love, patience, family.. etc during another trial of our lives. It was written with such realism!

Needless to say, this same twin is the first child to join the Army after 9/11. Who would have thought this child would have lead the way for her siblings! The weakest and most challenged child! She scares me! [Smile]

So, I think that explains my connection to this book, to the losses we didn't have to endure and those challenges we couldn't avoid. It probably explains why I feel so deeply about Pete's challenges right now also. ... hummm.. yep, that's probably it! (and this is just the short story of my kids)
Posted by KEGE (Member # 424) on :
Roseauthor - I can't even believe that you were able to read the book after Charlie Ben's death and what you personally went through that very same night!

Even if you had read it before and were prepared - well are we ever really prepared? I have never been able to read it again after the first time and I've reread at least once every other OSC book that I have.

I guess in your case God chose such a difficult path to make your baby girl such an incredibly strong and admirable young woman. As her mother you must be extremely proud of what both you and she have accomplished thus far. I look up to you both.

I never before read that Mr. Card has never read or been able to read Lost Boys. That is very interesting. If you have a link to that discussion I would love to read his comments on the book.
Posted by Shawshank (Member # 8453) on :
OSC's take on Lost Boys- includes spoilers

There it is.
Posted by KEGE (Member # 424) on :
Thank you Shawshank! I'm a little confused where he said since then he's lost two children?! Of course I knew about Charlie Ben, but what has happened to one of his other children?!
Posted by Irregardless (Member # 8529) on :
KEGE, OSC's bio page says their fifth child, a girl named Erin Louisa, died within hours of birth:
Posted by KEGE (Member # 424) on :
Thank you Irregardless. It doesn't say what year that happened and for some reason now I can't remember the year that Charlie Ben died, but I didn't realize that!

It always amazes and inspires me that some people can be so strong and noble in the face of circumstances that affect other people exactly the opposite way.

I just read Matt Shelby's post from Shawshank's link and must say that he expressed my feelings exactly. I read that book in 1997 and if I let myself think about it too closely those same feelings come right back up in me.

I can feel sad and cry about Sirius or Dumbledore dying like Matt Shelby said - but when Stevie died it was real to me. I really don't think many writers can say they've made people feel that way.
Posted by Roseauthor (Member # 148) on :
KEGE>. you've been around as long as I have.. for the most part!

YES.. I am proud of her!.. she also gave me my first and only grandchild!

I can't say I was strong or noble.. I wish I would have been! I just couldn't quit with my children! Which is why I connect to this book! There's just too much to even write on here!.. way too much!
Posted by KEGE (Member # 424) on :
It's exactly when people are being strong and noble that they don't realize it or think about it. They just feel like they are doing what they "have to do" for someone they love. The key is that those people instinctively feel that it is something they "have to do" and don't even conceive of their actions as being something that others would waver over doing or even run away from doing.

Think how amazing it is that Mr. Card could give us Lost Boys even suffering through the emotions of imagining losing a child. Then to live the experience twice .... only a strong faith could support someone through these times as it does for Stevie's family in Lost Boys.

It's interesting that Shawshank connected with the book only on his second reading of it. Maybe Treason needs to pick it up again in a few years?
Posted by ctm (Member # 6525) on :
Lost Boys is really one of the best books I ever read. I've always thought it was such a wonderfully written portrait of a healthy, functional (as opposed to dysfunctional) family. The relationship between the husband and wife, the way they care for their kids, is so real and so touching. Maybe because my own marriage (now over) was not good at that point, that resonated with me more.

I also love the way it shows human relationships, i.e. the friends who will do anything for you, how you can be great friends with people who are so different from you, dealing with the people who seem to exist only to test our patience, etc.

But the ending, oh. I sobbed.
Posted by Treason (Member # 7587) on :
KEGE-unfortunately I have read it 3 times. I tried really hard to love it, but it was like Homebody or Treasure Box to me...I just did not connect with it at all. His sci-fi/fantasy books seem more real to me than these did.

I guess in a few years I could try again. [Smile]
Posted by rjzeller (Member # 8536) on :
Uh...Okay, thank you shawshank for the link to OSC's comments. Ugh. It was a blessing to read that, but it brought everything back to the forefront.

I guess I should never have had my mother read it. As I now realize just how impossible it must be to deal with the loss of a child.

I was asked to speak about Abraham's duty to the Lord to sacrifice his son. I decided to make the personal link and ask the congregation, "would you be willing to sacrifice your son..." but I could't finish the thought. As I spoke it I found my wife and (then) only son in the audience -- and nobody loves his daddy the way my son loves me. The thought of ME willfully sacrificing his life out of a duty to the Lord just gripped me, and I stood there frozen for several minutes as I fought back the tears.

And in this case nothing "bad" had actually happened -- it was just the thought of it! mother, she DID lose a son (I lost a brother). I don't believe the emotions a brother feels for lost kin are the same a parent feels for a lost child. Now that I have children of my own I believe this even more. I'll never forget the day the two sheriff's deputies arrived at the door. I had just an hour before told my mother (it was quite late at night) of an accident I passed on my way home.

She made the connection before I did.

The sad part...what hurt the most...was seeing the agony in my parents faces. It was unbearable. And standing there in front of the congregation pondering what the loss of my own beloved son would be like...I just couldn't take it.

And here I gave my mother this book and suggested she read it, a fool am I! I'll confess...I cried at the end of Lost Boys. But I never thought about how it would affect my mother.

But I think she's glad, ultimately, to have read it. It does help to let those emotions out sometimes, I think, and like Card said, it kinda brings us together. It's almost as though we have a little extra support, a few more companions in our sorrows.

I don't know if I can read this book again. I WANT to, I just don't know if I can. If some people weren't moved by it, like Card said, it's not their fault. It just didn't resonate with them. For me it did, in a big way.

I thank your Mr. Card for writing this book -- clearly it is a book that needed to be written. But I am also deeply sorry for bringing up what clearly is a troubling subject once again. Looks like there have already been enough things said about this book.
Posted by Kettricken (Member # 8436) on :
I am an atheist who is single with no children. I loved Lost Boys, so identifying with the family is not necessary to find it a great book. I was gently reading along enjoying the story of a good family trying their best in difficult circumstances. The then ending came and with it the tears.

I can imagine it would be even more powerful if you had lost a child. I don’t know if I could read it in those circumstances.
Posted by KEGE (Member # 424) on :
Well Treason, I think that I like sci-fi better or shall I say am more comfortable reading it exactly because it doesn't cause me such emotional upheaval. Maybe you don't really want to connect with Lost Boys and that's okay.

I think it's not about having lost a child, or being religious, or married as much as the experience of the book becoming real to you. The more real it is to you the more the ending will freak you out. Maybe it becomes more real for some people because elements of it resonate with actual experiences for them. Others may simply be more open to the "willing suspension of disbelief" that we use to some degree with any fiction.

I don't think that Mr. Card would want us to stop discussing this book, rjzeller. I think if he wanted it gone he'd pull it out of print and have the moderators delete any such topics from the forum. It's important for people to talk about it who haven't read it before as well as those who have read it long ago and developed new insights or perspectives.

So thanks for bringing it back up. Hiding from painful memories doesn't make them less painful. I'm sure the Card family grieve for their losses and celebrate the joy those children did bring them however brief or difficult the times were.
Posted by Roseauthor (Member # 148) on :
KEGE, well said!
Posted by Irregardless (Member # 8529) on :
Partly as a result of this thread, I went out last night & got a used copy -- my old hardback one is hundreds of miles away at my parents' house -- and read it in two sittings (which would have been one if I hadn't forced myself to go to sleep at 4 AM). It had been so long I had forgotten who the killer was, until very close to the end. Outstanding book.

P.S., I'd also forgotten how truly evil the schoolteacher was.
Posted by Leia Atreides (Member # 9227) on :
Well... I'm at chapter two... and this is the first of Card's books that I feel I can't read. Not for style, not for theme.... it broke my heart. I don't know, I think it was the dialogue about a boy that was laughed at, and cried.... I think it was somewhere there. Weird. Few lines, and I already feel down.

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