Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Completion Date: January 3, 2012
Reason for Reading: Really enjoyed Hugo by the same author.
From Brian Selznick, the creator of the Caldecott Medal winner THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, comes another breathtaking tour de force. 
Playing with the form he created in his trailblazing debut novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick once again sails into uncharted territory and takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey. 
Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing. 
Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories--Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures--weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder. Rich, complex, affecting, and beautiful--with over 460 pages of original artwork--Wonderstruck is a stunning achievement from a uniquely gifted artist and visionary.
A few years ago I was at the local Costco browsing the book selection like always. I have bought many books from them over the years that I probably never would have bought otherwise. On this particular day I found myself picking up The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I was blogging back then, but I didn't recall hearing anything about this book. At first I had another book entirely in mind to buy, but after flipping through the pages I found myself intrigued with the very idea of the book. I had been slowing discovering graphic novels and this seemed like something different. I went on to review the book and discovered there was lots of hype surrounding the book that I had entirely missed out on. I was very happy about that. (On another note, the book I put back was The Road which I eventually bought and really liked, too.)

Hugo was way back in 2007, though. It is not 2012 and last year a new book by Selznick was released. I decided to wait and buy a copy with my Christmas gift cards, though, so I had to wait. I have been seeing it make the blogging rounds, but I only paid the barest attention to what people were saying about it. I wanted to make my own impressions. I did see some people say it was not as good as his earliest book, but that is actually a good thing to see once in a while. If a book is seen as amazing by everyone you go into it with very high expectations and then you can easily be disappointed. So, I suppose you are wondering what I thought of the book? I loved it! I actually think I enjoyed it more than Hugo, but it has been a while since I first read that book. It was such a wonderful book with once again a combination of pictures and words to delight all that read it. I have to admit I was a bit worried it would dull in comparison to Selznick's previous work, but I need not have worried at all.

The books is actually two stories. There is written part which is about a young boy whose mother has just died and he has moved in with his aunt and her family. He is still coming to terms with everything when he starts to find clues to his past amongst his mother's things. He never knew his father, but now he is determined to learn the truth to who he is. Then, there is the story in pictures which takes place 50 years in the past. The entire time you will be working out in your head how the two stories connect. Eventually, though, they do come together and then the mediums converge. It was really a brilliant approach to the story.

I am so happy that once again I was able to love a book Selznick. I cannot recommend this book enough and I cannot wait until I get another chance to enjoy a wonderful book by a very talented author. If you haven't given him a try yet I strongly recommend that you do.

28 comments:

  1. I think maybe i let my expectations up too high. I liked it, but nowhere near as much as Hugo.

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    1. I think it was good that either avoided people talking about it entirely or just glanced at their posts. I didn't have the same expectations and I remember a few people didn't love it.

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  2. I think I liked Hugo a bit better too, but I think that's because even the whole CONCEPT of such a book was new to me and such a wonderful surprise. And that doesn't mean I didn't think Wonderstruck was also wonderful! :--) I think Selznick is a pretty amazing guy!

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    1. I think he is a pretty amazing guy, too!

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  3. I adored Wonderstruck and want to read Hugo after seeing the movie.

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    1. I really want to see the movie... Hopefully soon!

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  4. I adore his books and have Wonderstruck sitting right behind me just waiting for me to dive in!

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  5. I admit I didn't really love this one, but then, I didn't love Hugo, either. The whole story in words was a great concept, but I didn't think the stories were as developed as they could have been. But... SO pretty :-)

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    1. That's too bad you didn't enjoy them more. They were very pretty, though.

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  6. I've not read either of these but am glad to see that this one lived up to your expectations!

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    1. I hope you do and enjoy them. :)

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  7. I just read Hugo for the second time but the first time with my seven year old. I was going to read Wonderstruck with him this year but now I'm not sure. He is really sensitive to plots with moms that die. I think I will read it first (and I'm sure I'll love it!).

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    1. I hope you do enjoy it!

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  8. Love the feeling that I picked up a book because of cover/story/whatever and completely oblivious to the hype. I did it with The Hunger Games and (so proud of myself) Harry Potter. Maybe that says more about my disconnection with reality than my ability to chose hits :P

    Do you think I should start reading Selznick by picking up Hugo or this one first?

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    1. I don't avoid the hype as well as I used to. There seems to be a lot more of it and if the book is marketed right people get ARCs and I have to wait for it to actually be released...

      hm, I don't personally think it matters which you read. They are both really good.

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  9. This is the first time I see him mentioned and it sounds like a book that need to go on the wish list. Or maybe Hugo.

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    1. I hope you enjoy him! His books are so pretty... :)

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  10. My daughter is reading Hugo now and tells me I have to read it, too. She can't wait to read Wonderstruck now.

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    1. I hope you do read them. And I hope she enjoys Wonderstruck!

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  11. I haven't read this one yet (which surprises even me!). Hugo Cabret was the first review I ever wrote for a website other than my own. It made a big impression, and I'm looking forward to this one, too!

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    1. I am surprised you haven't read it either if you enjoyed Hugo that much. On the other hand, when I am really excited I tend to avoid books until just the right moment.

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  12. I really must get both of his books. They just sound so amazing.

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    1. You do! They are wonderful!

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  13. I'm dying to read this one!

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    1. I hope you get a chance to read it soon!

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  14. I still need to read Hugo. I'm a bit behind the times.

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    1. Well, Hugo got famous again because of the movie release. I am sure lots of people read it for the first time then.

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