Saturday, March 24, 2012
A friend suggested I read WonderStruck by Brian Selznick because it involves deafness. Since I worked at California School for the Deaf, married a Sign Language interpreter and raised three Deaf foster kids that's a topic I care about. I loved Selznick's previous book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret so I was eager to read the newer one.
WonderStruck was every bit as good as I had hoped it would be. The creative combination of two kids' stories, one told in words and the other in pictures, worked amazingly well.
The boy, Ben, was deaf in one ear and lost his hearing in the other ear as the story progressed. The girl, Rose, was never able to hear, but that doesn't become obvious for a while. Selznick does a masterful job of letting readers know some of the challenges Deaf kids had to face, such as being institutionalized and forbidden to use Sign Language, in the past.
But that's only one aspect of this exciting book.
Both kids, who live fifty years apart, must deal with finding their ways in the world alone and both are drawn into the mysterious and amazing museum where their stories intertwine in a surprising way.
I wouldn't call this book a graphic novel because those are usually drawn more like cartoons and Selznick's illustrations are beautiful art, most of them taking an entire spread of two pages. They make the book thick, but it's a fairly quick read since only about half the pages are text.
Brian Selznick is obviously a multitalented, creative thinker and I recommend this book highly.