Sunday, September 28, 2014

Book Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Release Year: 2007
Info about the author: Goodreads -Website
Publisher: Scholastic
Age Group: Children
Pages: 533
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

An orphan and a thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy train station. He desperately believes a broken automation will make his dreams come true. But when his world collides with an eccentric girl and a bitter old man, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy.


A couple of years ago when I saw television commercials for Scorsese's Hugo, I am ashamed to say I instantly thought it would be a film I would pass. And to this day, I haven't seen it. But now that I've read the brilliant story by Brian Selznick the film has been adapted from, I am dying to see the film.

An orphan Hugo Cabret lives at a railway station in Paris. He has been helping his uncle run the clocks of the station, and when his uncle suddenly disappears, he continues the work his uncle has taught him. When not working on the clocks, he moves around the station in shadows, stealing food and drink from the shops of the station, as well as toys from the small toy booth run by an old man. At nights, he works on something left unfinished by his father - fixing of an old mechanical automata which could provide Hugo with a secret message.

One day, the old man finds Hugo's notebook with plans for the automata and steals it, clearly finding the information in it familiar. Hugo does his best to get his notebook back and with the help of Isabelle, the goddaughter of the mysterious toy booth owner, Hugo starts to learn more about the automata and its history.

Selznick tells his story through text and illustrations, and though the book is over 500 pages long, it only took me a couple of hours to read through it. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous - several of them are pictures I would not mind framing and putting on my wall. The characters are interesting and the story flows well, which makes this a book I definitely would have liked to read when I was younger and a book I would definitely recommend to readers of all ages. What I personally loved most about this book were the links to early cinema and filmmaking - as a film student I had total geek out moments when this book made references to early black and white films and directors. If you like film history, you should definitely check this one up.

I have heard the film is not at good as the book (isn't that always the case?) but I am still very much looking forward to watching the film now that I know what to expect from it. I really also want to venture into the other books of Brian Selznick!

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