Lost And Found by Orson Scott Card

I don’t even know where to start with this one… this book crept up on me and will probably stick with me for the rest of my life. There is such intense emotions at play here that it caught me off guard. Lost And Found is phenomenal.

It all starts with the unlikely friendship of Ezekiel and Beth, and I think a quote from Ezekiel best sums it up. He says,

Beth Sorenson, I’m the thief you chose to walk to school with. And you’re the proportionate dwarf that I choose to walk to school with.

Ezekiel is 14 and has what they call in the book a “micropower”. Ezekiel has the unique ability to be able to return lost items to their owners. This has gotten him in a lot of trouble in the past because people tend to think he has stolen the object he is returning. Ezekiel is kind of forced into this friendship with Beth, who as previously mentioned is a proportionate dwarf, because she knows that if she stands within his “shunning bubble” and walks with him to “Downy Soft” High School no one will be able to pick on her. Beth helps Ezekiel to expand his “micropower” by helping him discover what he is capable of. Through his discoveries about his power he embarks on a journey to find a missing little girl and uncover a human trafficking ring with the help of a slightly overbearing detective named Shank.

I’ll be honest this book took me a while and it really won me over when Ezekiel made a reference to The Lord of The Rings. Silly, I know. But this movie is about far more than a kid with a silly power, it about loss and growth. Ezekiel loses his mother when he is a young boy. He watches her get hit by a car and she dies in the hospital. Ezekiel is kind of a jerk because of a lot of deeply ingrained hurt. From his trouble with the cops to his sadness about his mother he is a hurt 14 year old boy. His father describes his hurt like this,

Your body showed no injury that the doctors could treat, but I knew it was there, I knew that it shattered you, you were maimed, you were crippled that day, and there was nothing I could do, I couldn’t replace her, I couldn’t change my whole character and become that vibrant, happy, loving, chattering, kind and generous person in whose circle of light you had spent your entire life.

So through this hurt we understand why Ezekiel is the way he is. But he does not stay his guarded smart ass self all through the novel. The character grows in a way that made me, as a reader, really fond of him. He starts off as almost an anti-hero and by the end he is a no strings attached hero through and through. Card wrote Ezekiel masterfully.

On top of the meaningfulness of the characters there is a great sense of humor. The characters are witty and smart. Sometimes they come off as a little over the top smart but I think it works because you are supposed to realize that Ezekiel and Beth aren’t normal kids. They are special. My favorite quote from Beth is this,

I don’t make up words,” said Beth. “I coin them when I need them, and then they’re real.

Each character has their quirks. Ezekiel is kind of a jerk but really a softie on the inside, and Beth is a quick witted girl who always knows the right thing to say.

The one thing about this story that was a little irritating to me was the dad, and I think it had more to do with the way his personality was written than anything. He is an extremely intelligent man but is ridiculously baffled by a smart phone. I understand that this is to illustrate that he isn’t very wealthy and that he is old-school, but this man has to be in his forties and literally has zero knowledge about electronics. It’s unbelievable and it proves to be an obstacle in a tense situation. I guess my point is that I grew up in a town with a lot of poverty and 99% of 40 year olds that I know can operate a smart phone. The writing wasn’t convincing. Plus the dad also has this to say about Ezekiel trick or treating,

“Totally your call,” said Dad. “Till you’re sixteen, and then it’s just disgusting to go begging for candy.

I don’t know I guess that idea rubbed me the wrong way because I’d rather a 16 year old be out trick or treating than causing trouble.

But with problematic dads aside this book is about coping and there is an analogy that Beth uses that perfectly sums up grief and the grieving process. It really hit me in the heart and gave me a deeper understanding of he underlying issues. She says,

Look, Ezekiel Blast, the past is like gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe. When bad stuff first happens, it’s like when the gum is sticking to everything—the road, the sidewalk. And you can’t wear that shoe into the house because it will get all involved in the carpet and the bathroom rug, but when you try to scrape it off on the edge of the sidewalk or the edge of the porch, or you try to rub it off in the grass, it won’t come off. So you have to just live with it. You walk along, your foot trying to stick with every step, but gradually as the gum gets dirtier and dries out more and more, it loses its stickiness. And eventually, without ever actually removing it, you forget the gum is there. Except maybe on a hot day the gum gets soft and a little sticky again, and you think, Oh, yeah, gum on my shoe.

I thought this was so beautifully worded and it is so easy to digest. Everyone knows what it is like to have gum stuck to the bottom of their shoes. Everyone knows what hurt feels like and for Orson Scott Card to put it together so nicely really impressed me.

This book also has a lot to say about people as individuals. The insinuation can be made that everyone has some kind of “micropower”, I won’t spoil some of the others for you because I think they add to the story. I felt Orson Scott Card was saying that everyone is special, everyone is unique, and everyone is useful in their own way. The message is beautiful and Ezekiel’s power proves to be way bigger and way more useful than he could ever imagine. Even the “dumbest” of powers prove to be valuable in the right situation.

I’m going to use one more quote from Beth, she says to Ezekiel,

You said no person is ever really lost because you always know how to find yourself, because you’re always right there.

I think this rings true for more than just Ezekiel’s power. If you ever feel lost remember that you aren’t because you know where you are and that is where you are supposed to be at the time. Ezekiel can only find lost things, but a person is never really lost just in a different space than where they wish to be. It felt good to read those words and apply them to my life, and I believe that is what Orson Scott Card intended.

It was hard for me to rate this one because for a long time I didn’t know what to say. Now that it is all written down and I see how many quotes I pulled from the text I think it would be dishonest to give it anything less than 5 stars. So 5/5, this book was a real treat and a surprise.

Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing for allowing me access to this title.