Lost & Found has been described by many as that ubiquitous thing, ‘quirky’. Well, yes, it is certainly that, but it is also honest, funny, lovely and downright bizarre at times. The main plot – small child is abandoned by mother – is pretty fairy tale in nature, and the quest on which the characters embark is also standard, but otherwise, I found this to be a delightfully unique read.
Millie Bird finds herself an ‘almost orphan’; her father is dead and her mother has left her in a department store, with only a little food and only a little hope that she will actually come back for her. Luckily, despite what the makers of Father Ted may claim, she is discovered by the shop manager, and arrangements are made for foster care. But Millie is no ordinary child, and refuses to go meekly and give up on her dream to find her mother. Befriending Karl the Touch Typist, who spends his days lurking in the department store café, the enlist the help not only of ‘Manny’, an unsurprisingly mute mannequin, but also Agatha Pantha, a rather angry old lady who is housebound by choice since her husband died.
What I loved the most about Lost & Found was that honesty I mentioned earlier. Davis doesn’t shy away from the taboo, and that is evident mostly in Millie, in the fact that her mother, usually the most important individual in a child’s world, has abandoned her. But there is also love, and yes, sex, which can be extraordinarily difficult to write about well. Yet Davis manages this with ease, portraying passion balanced with the inherent messiness of relationships.
Lost & Found is a fantastic debut, and I very much look forward to what Davis will do next. Many thanks to Hutchinson for the review copy.