By Keith Donohue
If you are looking for a fast paced, yet unusual book, The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue may be the book for you.
At the age of seven, Henry Day disappears. A short time later he is brought home safe and sound to his father, mother and twin sisters. Or is he?
The boy accepted as Henry Day is not the youngster who ran away from home and hid in the hollow. Rather the boy taken into the Day's home is a changeling who has waited a hundred years for the opportunity and the right child with whom he could change places with to come along. Fashioning himself in the exact image of the Henry Day and using knowledge gained from extensive observation of the Day family, the changeling enters the world of humans and attempts to live Henry's life in his stead.
But what of the real child, Henry Day? While the imposter took his life, Henry Day, renamed Aniday, enters the world of the changeling. Ageless, with the appearance of wild children, the small tribe Aniday is adopted into lives deep in the woods. The changelings, or hobgoblins as they are known, venture into town only for the theft of supplies, general mischief and the observation of select children. As Aniday slowly becomes accustomed to his new life, he loses all memory of his former life, retaining only the ability to read and to write.
The book is told from the point of view of both the changeling Henry Day and of Aniday in alternating chapters. Over twenty years lead the two in very different directions in life, yet they have one thing in common: an obsession regarding who they were in their former lives. For Aniday, the obession is in the longing to remember life with the Days as a human child, before he was kidnapped and became a changeling. For Henry Day, the obsession takes him to Europe and back over 100 years to a German boy he scarcely recalls. Additionally Henry Day struggles with the fear that his past would be discovered, that he would be revealed as the imposter he is. Henry's fears grow progressively wilder as he becomes a father and imagines the changelings will try and snatch his own son, as he had snatched the real Henry Day years before.
The Stolen Child is a unique blend of fantasy and reality. Initially the alternating narratives were confusing, but as the story unfolded the two blended together in an effortless harmony. This book can easily be considered an adult fairy tale. Donohue has centered in and struck at the heart of every parent's worst fear: that their child will be stolen from them. What he has created is perhaps even worse: a child is stolen and an imposter returned in his place to unsuspecting parents, while unbeknownst to them, their real child suffers elsewhere. It is no wonder that Amazon.com has chosen The Stolen Child for it's first ever film rights.
This review was submitted by Kristin Pace. Kristin is a wife and mother and founder of The Book-Trotter. She wrote her first review 20 years ago and has been reading and loving books ever since.
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