Sunday, June 08, 2014

Book Review: Wonderstruck

I enjoyed The Invention of Hugo Cabret so much that I took a colleague's recommendation and read another book by the same author.

Wonderstruck
By Brian Selznick
2011
640 pages

After his mother's death, Ben is left a little bit lost. While looking through his mother's house one night, he gets indirectly struck by lightening and is left completely deaf. Ben then runs away to New York City to try find his dad. Rose also runs away to New York City to find her mom. With the help of the American Museum of Natural History, Ben and Rose's stories intertwine and everything is resolved in quite a lovely manner.

Ben's story is told through narration, like a novel, but Rose's story is told through the same full page pencil drawings Selznick so deftly incorporated into Hugo. So both stories are told separately side by side, until at one point they collide and mesh together. Selznick really is a master storyteller, and the beauty of this story comes from the way he tells it, not necessarily from the characters or plot. That being said, this is really a story for people like me - those who love books and libraries and museums - as Ben's mother is a librarian and much of the action takes place in the Natural History Museum. It took me back to when I visited it in NYC last year, and I loved the behind the scenes descriptions. And now I want to visit the Queens Museum of Art to see the Panorama!

I wasn't quite as enraptured by this book as I was by Hugo, but it still is an excellent read, well worth your time to enjoy the beauty of the story as it unfolds in this rather unique way. If you're a museum person who loves a good story, you should especially check it out!

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