“Sooner or later, the lightning comes to us all.” Thus begins Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck, a novel following two children wishing for happier lives.
At first their stories seem disconnected; Rose lives in New Jersey in 1927, Ben 50 years later in Minnesota. But when both children decide to head to New York a timeline swings into motion, swiftly carrying the two towards each other.
Wonderstruck is a powerful weaving of two separate lives — one told with words, the other with pictures — into a single shared story.
A unique storytelling experience
The thing that attracted me most to Wonderstruck is its reliance on imagery. Rose’s deafness makes words impossible, so her story is told through black and white sketches by author Brian Selznick.
The images are detailed and beautiful, telling a complex story in a much simpler fashion than I expected. Selznick transitions smoothly between past and present, words and pictures; bringing Ben and Rose’s stories ever closer to each other.
So much to learn
From hidden books to paper boats, bookstores to museums, secrets and adventures in new places, the theme of discovery is ever-present — even in the novel’s title.
Ben and Rose each leave home looking for something more, something better, something true. What they discover is not what they expect, and is in fact just the beginning of a whole new story.
Wonderstruck has a solid plot and good characters, and showcases some artwork and a different way of storytelling. Highly recommended for middle school age and up!