Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wonderstruck

How do you feel about spoilers? I can't stand them and often go to extreme lengths to avoid them. No joke -- I stayed away from the internet on the week Mockingjay was released. When I heard that Brian Selznick had a new book coming out, I wanted to be totally unspoiled, so I had no idea what Wonderstruck would be about. It was worth the effort, because when I sat down to read this book, I didn't get up again until I was finished. That's right, 608 pages later.
True, half of the story is told in illustrations. Continuing with the method he pioneered in The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Selznick's amazing black and white drawings tell of Rose, a deaf girl who loves silent films and wants to belong somewhere. Rose's life is interspersed with Ben's written narrative. Although his story is set fifty years later, the two have a lot in common. Ben is also deaf and trying to find his place in the world. Their two narratives are also similar, with the characters experiencing the same emotions at the same time.

I don't want to spoil the plot so instead I will marvel at the research that Selznick did to prepare for Wonderstruck. His study of diverse topics ranged from Minnesota to the American Museum of Natural History to Deaf culture. The details --both in the illustrations and the writing-- are what make Wonderstruck so satisfying. The more I read, the more I appreciate authors who respect their readers. Rather than churning out the same plot and characters, Selznick challenges the readers to expect more.

This should be the next book you read.


1 comment:

  1. That one image glimpse is enough to make me want to buy it! I absolutely loved Hugo Cabret.

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