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You can never go home again...but then again, maybe you can.

Book Review: Finding Lost – Season Six: The Unofficial Guide by Nikki Stafford

For those of us who have deeply and sorely missed our weekly Lost fix ever since the often perplexing, but undeniably groundbreaking ABC series faded to black for good this past spring, Nikki Stafford’s Finding Lost – Season Six: The Unofficial Guide makes for the same kind of bittersweet experience as attending your thirty year high school reunion.

Reading through Stafford’s intricately detailed recaps of every episode of Lost’s sixth and final season, you become intimately reacquainted with the already foggy memories associated with its most unforgettable characters (Jack, Locke, Hurley, Linus, Sawyer) and even its biblical deities (Jacob and Smokey).

With the added benefit of rear view hindsight, you might also even be able to finally make sense of the island’s deepest mysteries (or, much like that high school reunion, maybe not).

Mostly though, Stafford’s book will leave those Losties who became the most emotionally invested in it, with the same feelings of longing, regret and finally resignation as the series finale itself did.

For those who “got” Lost — which was admittedly, not always the easiest task — it was an epic story of good vs. evil. The great, if not always easily deciphered writing, wove together elements pitting the basic arguments of religion and faith against those of science and free will. But it was also a story where the lines were always ambiguously drawn enough to never clearly favor one school of thought over the other.

For those who didn’t (“get it,” that is) — or perhaps just want to take a fresh new stab at getting Lost all over again on the DVDs — Stafford’s definitive guide also goes a long way towards peeling away many of these same layers of mystery.

It is for this latter group, that Finding Lost – Season Six: The Unoffical Guide may hold the greatest overall value. As something of a Lost scholar, Nikki Stafford’s deep knowledge of this series isn’t at all unlike Blogcritics’ own Barbara Barnett’s expertise on all things House. The author gives a detailed, chronological run-down of each of the season six episodes that also provides just enough backstory to get the newbies mostly caught up to speed.

The fact that she also does this without revealing any future spoilers along the way, makes this book a great resource for any unanswered questions that may linger following the viewing of each episode (for those who choose to do so).

Of course, there is also plenty enough new Lost trivia to satisfy the hunger of even the most insatiable, more seasoned Lost nerds. The revelations here range from fairly common knowledge like the Springsteen references to “Spanish Johnny” and “Rosalita” in the “Everybody Loves Hugo” episode, to the lesser known fact that the mysteriously anonymous “Man In Black” (a.k.a. the Smoke Monster) was in fact, at one point scripted with a biblical name (which Stafford reveals).

In between the episode recaps, Stafford also goes into considerable detail on the cultural and literary influences woven into the storylines of Lost by primary writers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. These range from Star Wars (prompting a complimentary letter from George Lucas) to Milton’s Paradise Lost and Stephen King’s epic apocalyptic novel The Stand.

Stafford also attempts — and mostly convincingly — to solve most of the many lingering mysteries and questions left unanswered by the series finale, as relates to the Dharma Initiative, “The Others,” the Smoke Monster, Hurley’s lottery numbers, and — well everything else.

Whether or not Lost follows other sci-fi television classics like Star Trek and The X-Files onto the big screen remains to be seen. But I’d bet a six pack of Dharma generic beer that ten years or so down the line (or maybe even five), it will.

If and when that happens, the most obvious challenge will be in topping the unprecedented scope of the original six seasons of this series, and condensing them down to a mere two, or even three hours. To that I say, good luck and Namaste.

Perhaps the more daunting task however, will be rekindling the original magic of this amazing series, and finding new ways to expand upon it. For those of us who loved and still miss Lost, Nikki Stafford has mostly done that with this book.

Ten years down the line, on the other hand? Well, much like that thirty year reunion, you can never go home again…but then again, maybe you can.

Nikki Stafford’s Finding Lost – Season Six: The Unofficial Guide is the final installment in her series of Finding Lost books. She continues to write about the series — even now — on her blog Nik At Nite.

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

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