Xan's Reviews > The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
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's review
Jan 04, 12

really liked it
bookshelves: why-eh-sometimes-j, graphic-novels, what-i-love-best, won-a-cookie, made-a-movie, came-across-the-desk
Read from January 03 to 04, 2012

Wow, I honestly can't say why I waited so long to read this, except that of all the times I brought it home with me I was never in the mood to hold it long enough to read it, until yesterday when I decided I should do so before I saw the movie. I had no idea what wonders lay between those pages. Well that's not entirely true, I knew this was a story told in a combination of words and pictures that was supposed to break the boundaries between traditional books and graphic novels, and I knew there was a boy named Hugo and it was set in Paris. I suppose I expected magic and a fairytale story of sort, but instead I was met with a rather starker reality of an orphan trying to survive on his own with only his wits, and the skills he had acquired in 12 years of life, some useful, some dubious.

Along the way Hugo meets an old man unhappily selling toys as he hides from the imagination filled life of movie making he once lived, (based on a real person), and a girl as curious and stubborn as he is. The books massive size is comprised half of beautiful pictures rendered in stark black and white pencil, seamlessly blending into the words they accompany. I have 'read' more than one completely wordless graphic novel, the Arrival by Shaun Tan being my favorite. Selznick's blending of the completely wordless pictures with sections of heavy text make clear just how masterful his transitions are when I found myself filling in the words that would have been written in the picture's place. Bravo!

And now I can say I've not just read about this book, but read it, and loved it, when I hand it off to the next person to read.

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