I want you to imagine the most kind person that you know. That person that honestly listens to you when you are talking, who calls or texts just to say hello or ask what’s up. That friend that always sends a card, always offers a hug or a shoulder, always comes back after periods of separation, frustration, or just plain busy-ness.
The Keeper of Lost Things is that person written into a book.
An old author Anthony collects lost things. From something so small as a button to something as important as ashes, he stores and catalogues them with the intent of trying to return them to their owners. Even those people around him, his housekeeper, his gardener, the child from the neighboring house, all seem to be castaways and castoffs, left adrift in a world to be collected by him and kept safe.
But then he dies, and leaves his estate and all his things to Laura (the housekeeper) who is a divorcee who has escaped a loveless, neglectful marriage and is rediscovering herself. She brings in the neighbor child who we discover later in the book that isn’t just quirky but has Down’s Syndrome (she calls herself a “dancing drome” and when I said it Dan Sing-Drome I got it) and the groundskeeper Freddy who has a cleft lip and has a hard time making friends.
This book drips with thoughtful kindness and how it can survive in a world of gossips and self-involved assholes. It shows we can let people in even when we would rather keep everyone out, and that act of opening up is just as kind to those that need someone to welcome them in. Laura and Freddy’s patience with Sunshine (the neighbor), Freddy’s patience with Laura as he attempts to show he cares for her, Laura’s patience with the errand that Anthony has left for her, and all their interactions, even when they are bristling and sharp, end with forgiveness and kindness.
Ruth Hogan does not take you on a roller coaster ride with this story. She speaks to your wishes (the time and money and space to decide what to do with your life) and your insecurities (mental health, dealing with loss, dealing with starting over) and shows that it’s going to be okay. If you just communicate what you need, do your best, and support one another, everything comes out in the wash in the end.
I needed this book. It make my heart warm with hope in a life and world in which I am constantly sad. When I started the book I didn’t think I would finish it. I am so glad that I stuck with it. Go get you some.