Saturday, April 26, 2014
Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
From the very outset, it was clear that Brian Selznick's award-winning novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is a particularly fascinating volume. While always aware of the caveat against judging books by their covers, this novel's colorful and ornate dust jacket was like a beacon the first time I saw it, gleaming with promises of a worthwhile story. The volume itself is no less wondrous, filled with fantastically rendered pictures and oddly lain text, printed on surprisingly thick pages, bound in a simple yet distinguished cover...it truly is a singularly impressive book, and all this without mention of the story itself.
Hugo Cabret is a story about hope and dreams, set in a world that seems sorely at a loss for both. The titular character, Hugo Cabret, has in his 12 short years suffered no small amount of hardship. An orphan, he lives hidden in the secret recesses of a train station, keeping watch over the station's three dozen clocks. He resorts to thievery in order to stay fed, and to continue work on his main focus in life: the repair of an automaton, the completion of which was once the goal of his late father. Hugo's pursuit of this end eventually gets him into trouble on several occasions, but also introduces him to Isabelle, the ward of the toymaker from whom Hugo has been stealing parts for his mechanical man. This new friendship opens the door to a number of other introductions, troubles, and triumphs. In the end, Selznick's novel is every bit as heartwarming as it is gloomy, and the promises of its resplendent cover are all fulfilled.
I'm tremendously glad I chose to read this book as my first today. Lately I've felt the need for something lighter than the usual non-fiction on my reading list, and though Hugo Cabret was far from fluff, it still left me feeling uplifted, for which I'm thankful. Between its well-crafted story and the quality of its equally well-crafted binding, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone, regardless of age. I have yet to meet an adult who has completely lost contact with their inner child, and this story will not only appeal to that aspect, but bring it out. We all still dream, after all...