Review: Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once again Selznick weaves historical elements around a simple focal point. In [b:The Invention of Hugo Cabret|9673436|The Invention of Hugo Cabret|Brian Selznick||527941], the focal point was the magic of film and this time he uses museums. In both stories, the protagonist is a young boy facing extreme challenges to find their place in the world and unlocking the secrets of their past.

Wonderstruck begins shortly after Ben’s mother dies in a car accident and he a string of events sends him on a quest to find the father he knows nearly nothing about. He leaves Minnesota and heads for New York City with just a locket with a man’s picture, a first name, an old address, a book about museum and a bookmark from a used book store.

Once again Selznick employs his own beautiful sketches to tell broad swaths of story but this time the first part of the book tells the story of a girl 50 years in the past obsessed with a famous actress of film and stage. The connection between the girl and Ben blossoms slowly but movingly.

Wonderstruck isn’t as immediate as Hugo but once again Selznick brings a sense of childhood awe that I wonder if it still exists for kids today. That sense of grand adventure that comes when the world seems so much bigger and life didn’t seem to be a gallop pace. I wonderful way to reconnect not only with history but our own childhood.

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