Once again, we got an opportunity to do a review for a new book, Finding Lost, by Nikki Stafford. As always, we try to give our readers an unbiased, honest opinion (click on the “Reviews” link above to see more that our blog has covered in the past).
Though this book is considered an “unofficial guide”, I would say it is an excellent breakdown of what is important to the series so far up to the Season 2 Finale. The author, Ms. Stafford, has done other “unofficial guides” in the past, including for Alias and Buffy. The structure is by episode, with each chapter being a basic summary, and then special sections toward the end of each that include “Highlight”, “Did You Notice?”, “Interesting Facts”, “Nitpicks”, “Oops”, “4 8 15 16 23 42″, “It’s Just a Flesh Wound”, “Any Questions”, and other fun tidbits. Each chapter also includes sidebars and what she calls “Intermission Chapters”, which give background biographical information on actors, literary references, and box insets with whisper transcripts and lists of things like Sawyer nicknames. Towards the end, there are very short chapters on character connections, web resources, and filming locations.
This is a well-organized and well-researched book that was a fun read. I love lists, so I enjoyed the sidebars. The “Intermission Chapters”, IMHO, may be the best part of the book, since they are inserted in just the right places, and give interesting background on the people behind the characters and insight into how the book references could enrich your understanding of the show. This book can be a gold mine of trivia for those who enjoy that sort of thing… for example, did you know that Adewale had input in how his own character (Eko) was named? The black and white images included are also from various sources, usually lighthearted, and add well to the content of the chapters.
I will say that the editorialization in the chapters is at once a strength and a weakness. Since she has “Nitpick” sections, I guess this counts as my nitpick… I didn’t always agree with the minor connections made, such as the name Han Byung possibly being connected to the name Hanso (Han is a common name in Korean), numbers such as $89.99/hr for fake-Helen’s phone call counted as a Numbers reference, etc. (those were just 2 examples out of a handful I disagreed with, though I’m also not naming hundreds of details I did think were good and valid for inclusion). There are also very minor points, such as not mentioning the acronym nature of the DHARMA Initiative (which was revealed last year, though what it stood for wasn’t mentioned til this summer) and having short theory chapters where all were treated equally, with no mention about writer-discrediting statements. Again, this is really small picture stuff… the opinionated “voice” of the book is also something that makes the text unique and personable to the readers, and generally, this was what I’d consider to be an accurate book with solid research.
In summary, this book has substance, and gives a good overview of the first two seasons of LOST. It is also the first that we’ve reviewed that really works as an episode guide. Unfortunately, with the storyline always evolving in a multi-episode-series, it does run the risk (as with any of these printed book guides) of being quickly outdated, but I would look forward to new editions of this if Ms. Stafford wished to update. It is the sort of book with wide appeal that I would recommend if someone was looking for a good gift for a fellow fan.