Jun 18, 2012

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

by Brian Selznick

An orphaned boy named Hugo lives inside the walls of a Paris train station, surreptitiously tending clocks his uncle used to work on before he disappeared. While struggling to keep his life afloat- often stealing to obtain food- he is also working on a secret project: trying to restore an automaton that he thinks will give him a secret message from his father. Then he gets caught stealing clockwork parts from an old man's toy shop, and as punishment is made to work in the shop. The old man's granddaughter is curious about him and stubbornly refuses to give up as she tries to figure out his secrets. The story is not only about a boy growing up alone, living a secret life and trying to solve a little mystery but also about unexpected friendship, the dawn of filmmaking and holding onto your dreams.... it was surprisingly how all the threads of the story came together in the end, I really wasn't expecting some of the connections and the story felt quite unique to me.

I've seen this book mentioned on quite a few blogs but never really added it to my list. Then it jumped out at me when I was idly browsing shelves at my daughter's school library last week (they have it open one day a week in the summer)- really I was following the crawling babe around to make sure she didn't cause havoc and then noticed this insanely fat book on the shelf right at my nose. I pulled it out and it was Hugo Cabret. So I decided right there to borrow and read it myself. And it was delightful. It looks really long but in fact most of the pages are pictures that tell the story in place of words, so you can get through it rather quickly. And the drawings are wonderful:

My husband has been to see the film with our daughter and he said the movie was astonishingly close to the book just in how the images translated to film alone. That makes me want to see it now, as well. And then read Wonderstruck.

rating: 3/5 ....... 533 pages, 2007

more opinions:
Diary of an Eccentric
Across the Page
Bookwyrme's Lair
The Book Addict


C.B. James said...

I loved this one. So much that I'm afraid to watch the movie. I'd rather just re-read the book.

I was not as impressed with Wonderstruck. It's excellent, but it's not equal to Hugo, which stands alone at the top of my list these days.

bermudaonion said...

I saw the movie and thought it dragged but really want to read the book.

carol said...

My daughter and I tried to read this book and gave up quickly. It just didn't grab her interest, so of course we didn't bother with the movie.

Stefanie said...

So glad you liked the book! I thought it was wonderful too when I read it. I very much enjoyed the movie as well. Wonderstruck is also very good. The drawings are amazing.

Jenny said...

I liked-not-loved this -- the illustrations were absolutely beautiful, but the plot wasn't quite the thing for me.

Jeane said...

CB James- Well, I've heard others say they didn't like the second book as well as the first, so I'm prepared to expect less of it. I do want to see the film, though.

Bermudaonion- I hope it's not too slow for me! My daughter liked it.

Carol- we had a similar experience. I tried to get my daughter to read the book when I was done with it, but she only read a few pages and didn't want to continue. O well.

Stefanie- I can't wait to see what's in Wonderstruck.

Jenny- Well, it didn't blow me away- thus three stars as opposed to four or five- but I liked it well enough. I think the pictures were stronger than the storyline for me, so I'm hoping I'll like how it comes across visually on film, too.

Trish said...

So now I'm dying to know why the 3/5 rating!! I see your comment to Jenny--but is it one that you'd recommend?

I tried watching the movie but fell asleep. No fault of the movie--this is regular occurrence for me these days. ;) I have been really curious about the book, though! As well as Thunderstruck