Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Book Addict Reviews: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Mysteries & Detectives, Family Life
Order Online: Amazon.com
Author Info: Goodreads | Website
Rating: 4 stars
Borrowed this book from the library. 

In A Nutshell:
When I first heard about this book, I was not sure what to expect.  Would it feel too much like a picture book to hold the attention of an adult?  But I kept hearing people talk about it so I took the plunge.  This book is not like any picture book I have ever read before.  Yes, some elements of the story only come out in the illustrations, but the story that Brian Selznick weaves is much more complicated and full of intrigue than any other picture book I have ever read.

Hugo has been left alone in the train station where his uncle (who was serving as his reluctant guardian) serviced all of the clocks.  Afraid of what could happen to him if the officials at the train station learn he is alone, Hugo has taken over servicing all of the clocks hoping that no one notices him.  As this story unfolded, I really felt terrible on Hugo's behalf.  He went from a very loving and caring household with his father, to feeling like a nuisance and an inconvenience.

This loss of the connection he felt with his father led Hugo to fixate on the one physical thing that he still has to connect to his father.  And through the illustrations, we are able to capture some of the nuances and impact of Hugo's feelings and reactions more realistically than I imagine we would in a written text.  We see his face and how his expressions change the same way we would an acquaintance or a friend.  And that is the progression that Hugo made for me over the course of the story--he went from being an acquaintance I wanted to understand to a friend I valued.

But Brian Selznick did not just create one endearing character, he created a whole cast of them.  From the Station Inspector Hugo is constantly hiding from to the Etienne the friend who starts the chain reaction that brings Rene Tabard to Georges Melies' door, there is so much complexity and intrigue that I did not want the story to end.  Even now I want to know what happened after--what adventures did Isabel and Hugo go on after the final scene? 

I just saw that Brian Selznick has another book out--and now I have to read it!


  1. I loved this book too! I definitely recommend you read Wonderstruck, it is just as touching.

    1. Oh I am even more excited now... off to see when it will be available at my library!