Book Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

May is graphic novel month. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of graphic novels - I'd much rather read straight print, but I have really enjoyed a few out of the many I've read in the past. I also really love the Fables comic series, so even though it's not my favourite genre, I was looking forward to reading a few this month.

After taking recommendations on social media and from goodreads, I settled on not one, but three graphic novels! Here's the third and last of the bunch...

May 2014: Graphic Novels

The Invention of Hugo Cabret
By Brian Selznick
2007
544 pages

Hugo Cabret is an orphan clock keeper who lives in the walls of a Paris train station. He's also a thief, but hey, it's post World War I and he's got to eat to survive. He gets caught stealing small mechanical parts for a secret project by the old man who runs a toy shop. Here the mystery begins: What is Hugo's secret project? Who is the old man and how is he connected? What part does his goddaughter Isabelle have to play? What happened to Hugo's family? Will he stay out of trouble and the Station Inspector's jail? Will Hugo ever find all the answers to his questions?

I'm not going to give away more, because the story is a treat to read and you're going to go get it out of the library now and find the answers yourselves. It's a bit different from a "normal" comic style graphic novel in that there are pages of text like a "regular" novel, mixed in with gorgeous full page black and white pencil sketches. The sweet story is brilliantly portrayed, and you'll learn about the first moving picture films ever made as well.

I almost didn't read this book because it is really thick and I'm lazy, but a colleague insisted it was excellent and wouldn't take much time to read at all. And she was right. It was an excellent story, by far the best of the three I read this month. The illustrations were beautiful and completely integral to the pages of text. It was just a beautiful story told in a beautiful way. Just beautiful. Read it.

I also watched the film based on the book, and though it's a bit different, it's also very touching. I didn't find the variation from the book annoying, as it's a good story in it's own right, and definitely a good companion to the book.

Just read it. You're welcome.

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