Book review: Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

Confession time–although I certainly appreciated the merits of the innovative  The Adventures of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, I never really developed any personal connection to or strong liking of the story.  I definitely considered the accolades for that book to be well deserved, but I would not have chosen that book as a pleasure read. Expecting a similar reaction to Selznick’s latest, Wonderstruck, I was surprised how much I really enjoyed this unique and powerful book.  I was immediately drawn to the vulnerable Ben, one of the book’s two lead characters, whose story captivated me from page 1.  Ben’s story is told through words, while the other character Rose’s story, which takes place fifty years before Ben’s, is told only through masterful illustrations that reminded me of Chris Van Allburg’s picture books.  The book, never slow, barrels faster and faster towards an ending that seems somehow both magical and believably just right.  The telling of two different yet simultaneous stories, one through text and one through illustrations, is handled brilliantly by Selznick, who never lets this innovation get in the way of the reader’s experience, but instead used the technique to create an enjoyable and memorable read that has not only stayed with me but has me actively still thinking about the story weeks later.

 

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