The Museum of Extraordinary Things
Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister impresario behind The Museum of Extraordinary Things, a Coney Island boardwalk freak show that thrills the masses. An exceptional swimmer, Coralie appears as the Mermai ...more
Fiction that does any or especially all of these things well is the kind of fiction I like. Fiction that does a good job of revealing what it means to be human, in all its struggle, in spite of all the unpleasantness that surrounds us is the kind of fiction I like.
Fiction that is filled with only "likeable" characters who face situations that are just a wee bit challenging and never at all disturbing and who all find happy la la endings is not the kind of fiction I like. That kind of fiction is, in fact, a big fat lie of the worst kind.(less)
The prose that Hoffman tucks away in the nooks and crannies of these pages not on ...more
I think I'm turning into a monster, a horrible monster who hates everything and everyone and lives on dissatisfaction and bitterness.
How in the world could I not have loved this book? I mean, look at the title! The cover! The synopsis! It's full of promise and I was lured in by the tantalizing story of a girl who grows up alongside her father's museum of oddities and assortments and is, herself, abnormal and is trying to come to terms with her perceived place in the changing w ...more
What struck my curiosity with this one was exactly that - the thrill of entering a world full of curiosities, oddities and wonder. This was my first dose of Alice Hoffman's writing and I’m pretty confident when I say, it won’t be the last of her books I read. Even though The Museum of Extraordinary Things wasn’t everything I imagined it to be, there was a beauty and a depth to her words that kept me going.
The Museum is a place of illusions, bogus science and a cruel professor. For abou ...more
At f ...more
Two words – horribly disappointing.
I'd be really relieved if Alice Hoffman stepped up to say she was busy cataloguing her library of obscure Latin books on topography and so paid someone else to write this novel for her. Because that's how unlike Hoffman's usual books, this latest offering is. This novel contains none of her signature lyrical sentences and not one character you can admire or understand. There is nothing whimsical here, no brooding relationship; it is not a story you wish you co ...more
This was a very unique book. I found the writing to be quite beautiful. The alternating story lines really appealed to me. I often don't like when books alternate between characters points of view but in this book it really worked for me. I found the characters to be very unique and original.
Coralie is the daughter of the owner of the Museum of Extrodinary Things. It's no Museum, it's a freak show where Coralie is featured as a Mermaid. She was born with webbed fingers and her father ...more
1. My first Alice Hoffman book
2. I was concerned I would constantly compare it to Night Circus
So, having finished the book I:
1. I want to read more Alice Hoffman
2. What Circus??
Don’t get me wrong I loved Night Circus but for different reasons.
Coralie and Eddie’s stories kept me equally enthralled as these two young people each struggled to find their own way in the world despite and because of their families and backgrounds. I thought the ties to historical events were well res ...more
It is the story of Coralie, a girl with webbing between her fingers who lives with her father and his collection of extraordinary things and people.
"My father was both a scientist and magician, but he declared that it was in literature wherein we discovered our truest natures." pg 2
It is also the story of Eddie, a Jewish boy who flees with his father from a village in Russia afte ...more
There are two separate story lines going on and ...more
First though I have to comment on the overuse of italics. Presenting whole pages in italics is just disconcerting, harder to read and really not necessary. Complaint over, moving on...
The best part of The Museum of Extraordinary Things is the history which the author introduces so naturally into her story. It is not the first time I hav ...more
Basically this book reminded me of the Night Circus a lot, which I loved more and read too close to this, so there's probably that that's making me circumstantially biased. It's a very nice book! And I'm a ...more
It may seem like I am giving the book away, but I promise that I am barely touching the surface. Okay, here goes:
“This is the dawning of the Age of the Aquarius…Aquarius! Aquarius!”. I’ve never had that song in my head, ever. Well, maybe the night after I saw the traveling pr...more
This story is also about Eddie; a photographer working in New York City. Every second chapter is told from his perspective, and the rest is told from Coralie's.
While this was a very intriguing story about how abnor ...more
“Listen, and you’ll hear a story being told, one you may need to know.”
My introduction to Alice Hoffman isn’t exactly memorable.
Practical Magic which spawned the 1998 film, starring Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, and Goran Visnjic, seemed to primarily focus on the progression of plot, as opposed to character development. In between chapters, I seem to recall there being interludes containing various ingredients, mostly natural herbs, which, in light of the rest of the 1995 novel, added a little ...more
Category – Fiction/Literature Publication Date – February 18, 2014
This book goes beyond Fiction/Literature with adding Romance and Historical Fiction to the story. The story takes place in the early 1900’s in New York City. Alice Hoffman gives insight what it must have been like to live at this time in a city that contained unbelievable wealth and unbelievable poverty. She frames her story around two major fires that to ...more
Coralie Sardie is one of the narrators. She is the daughter of the evil Professor Sardie who owns “The Museum of Extraordinary Things”, which is basically a freak show. Hoffman develops her character as an innocent, devoted and complyi ...more
While at times the writing the lovely, I found the subject matter distressing.
An ex magician runs a museum of "natural wonders" on Coney island, he's a vile and disgusting man who exploits everyone who works for him including his daughter.
There are so many ugly things in this book, parents who sell children, vulnerable people who are exploited, cruelty to animals, the cruelty of people to each other.
The book also contains lengthy descriptions of two re ...more
The story of Coralie and Eddie is primarily book-ended by two actual events – the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911 and the Dreamland Amusement Park fire on Coney Island on May 27, 1911. Ms. Hoffman clearly did her research on these events – there is vivid detail here and s ...more
I did not get on well with this book AT ALL. I found that surprising considering it’s set in an interesting period of history (early 20th Century) in a fascinating place (New York), is based around a freak show, a tragic factory fire and the mystery surrounding a missing girl. It’s also set in Brooklyn (where I’m currently living). With all that in mind, it’s amazing that it was SO FLIPPING DULL.
A breakdown of my peeves:
1) Annoying faux Olde Worlde langu ...more
Firstly I have to say that this was a new genre for me, and judging by this book one I'll never read again. I just couldn't get myself to care about the History in this book. Yes it was horrific, yes it was hart breaking, but it just never spoke to me.
The writing was beautiful, although very repetitive at stages. And this dragged the story out just that extra bit to much for me. It felt like nothing happened in a few chap ...more
The story revolves around extraordinary people who are being displayed in a Brooklyn museum. Coralie, the daughter of the museum owner is herself, a wonder. But only wishes to be ordinary and fall in love.
Which is what happened when she met Eddie, an outcast photographer.
I loved the story plot, switching between Eddie's and Cora's POV. The story revolves around the search for a missing girl and t ...more
What worked and didn't work? I guess from a fellow writer's pov, I know how hard it was for her to accomplish all she did. ...more
The chapters alternate between Coralie and Ed Cohen. Two broken individuals, each trapped in their respective lives, and needing each other to break free of the restrictions they've placed on themselves. The World is theirs...
Coralie, a child growing up with Professor Sardie in a house filled with oddit ...more
My third read by Alice Hoffman unfortunately was a big miss. And when I’m thinking about how much I love her other books I’m even more disappointed.
I’m not sure exactly what went wrong for me. The strong romance element and the insta love are for sure at fault but really, everything else also felt really flat for me.
I couldn’t connect with the characters, the setting, which sounded so interesting, wasn’t used enough (or wasn’t used efficiently) and the resolution was So simplistic.
Before I started reading the book, I knew it was a book of mixed reviews: some loved it, whereas others hated it. What seemed to divide people was how they felt about The Night Circus. Whilst I personally enjoyed The Night Circus, I’m not crazy about it in the way many other people are. I believe this I why I fall more on the ‘dislike’ than the ‘like’ end of the spectrum when it comes to The Museum of Extraordinary Things ...more
Thank you NetGalley and Scribner for an advanced copy of this book.
This story is about Coralie and Eddie. The books alternates between their narrations. Their separate narrations also alternate between 1st person and 3rd person. I found this to be a bit odd, but the book was so entertaining that it didn't bother me much. Coralie's father runs "The Museum of Extraordinary Things" on Coney Island in the early 1900's. This museum is attached to their home. Coralie reminisces about her past, but mo ...more
A beautiful story set in turn of the 20th century Brooklyn. Our two POV's are Eddie and Coralie whose lives come together after a tumultuous history on both sides.
She a mermaid performing in the museum owned by her father of dubious reputation and he a Jewish boy who has turned his back on his father and religion to become a photographer and founder of 'lost' people.
A young woman is murdered which leads Eddie on a mission that will bring him to Coralie and his destiny.
I loved this book. ...more
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Magic; Magic Lessons; The Rules of Magic, a selection of Reese’s Book Club; and The Book of Magic. She liv ...more