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Hilary T. Smith
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Bryan Peterson


Wonderstruck - Weighing in at around 630 pages, Wonderstruck is not particularly a commute-friendly book. However, as a large part of the story is told through illustrations, it’s also a book that can be read quickly – fortunately for me, as there was simply no way I could carry this around as per my usual reading habits. Wonderstruck tells two intersecting stories, beginning decades apart. Ben and Rose are two characters who understand what is it like to miss something, and to feel alone. It’s this sense of yearning and isolation that causes each to embark upon their own personal quest – which eventually converge and intertwine in a gentle and heart-warming story.The content of this book is quite beautiful, visually and thematically. The illustrations of Wonderstruck are detailed and crafted with a great deal of thought – not just the setting, but the emotion of the characters are clearly rendered. The text and pictures complement each other in an interesting way. Before the storylines literally meet, they run parallel to each other, and the feeling evoked by Ben’s written story is often reflected in the poignant scenes from Rose’s illustrated story. Wonderstruck is both an insightful depiction of the experiences of two deaf children, and a love-letter of sorts to museums. The Authors Notes at the end of the book talk about the ideas that inspired Wonderstruck, including the transition away from silent films to “talkies”, and how this effectively excluded an entire segment of the community. It’s this kind of detail that makes Wonderstruck such a layered book. That said, this is a difficult one for me to rate, and I’m not sure a number of stars is how I really want to summarise my feelings about this book. My personal reading experience and amount of connection to the story and characters is not indicative of my thoughts around its value and importance as a piece of literature. So I guess you’ll just have to read it for yourself... :)