Reviews: David Gonterman

Lost Boy Found - Well, it's no Hook.

Lost Boy Found is billed as a story that is equal parts autobiography and Fairy Tale, combining social commentary with comedy, adventure, and drama. Sadly, the end result of this genre mixture leaves an unpleasant and soapy aftertaste, caused in part by the soap removed from the box Gonterman stands on for most of this story.

As a Fairy Tale, LBF tells the story of Adam, an ex-Lost Boy living in Las Vegas in the late 90s after being ejected from Neverland. You can take the boy of Neverland, but you can't take Neverland out of the boy, as Adam discovers his latent powers, finds a fairy that has been stranded like he has, and tries to return to Neverland. As an Autobiography, it tells the story of Adam's dealings with both popularity and authority, both in school and the Internet.

The problem with LBF arises mostly in its attempts to meld the two genres; the book deconstructs the Peter Pan mythos, but the characters aren't given such a makeover, and are in fact about as flat as the characters from your average children's story. Sache Blackard, the main villain of the story, is about as one sided as villains come; a violent and stupid bully who is antagonistic towards Adam (a child who is physically at most a quarter his age) to the point of psychosis. Though the reason for his antagonism is revealed in the third act of the story, it's hard for Gonterman to make any strong social commentary when his villain is so full of straw it's a wonder he's a school principal instead of a scarecrow.

The 'Autobiography' part of the story is the weak link in the narrative's chain. Instead of taking Gonterman's life and attempting to paint a fantastic world around it, it comes off as a story of wish fulfillment peppered with propped-up representations of the hardships Gonterman has faced in the early years of his online career, from the stereotypical troll with terrible spelling to an honest-to-goodness MS Ting.

Lost Boy Found is proof that Gonterman hasn't escaped the zeitgeist of his past; it is filled with many of the same elements he has been ridiculed for in previous works, from his author insert protagonists to his references to video games and anime. Depressing as it is, the only sort of enjoyment you can eke from this story is the same sort of enjoyment you get from Gonterman's other stories.