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Monday, September 28, 2015

The Marvels

I have mentioned before how much I adore Hugo Cabret, so I rushed to pick up Brian Selznick's new book, The Marvels, at BEA this year. It was love at first sight.

In 1766, a boy named Billy Marvel survives a storm at sea with his dog -- the only survivor. In 1990, Joseph runs away from his boarding school to find his eccentric uncle who may hold the key to the family secrets. These stories do not appear related at the outset, but the deeper Joseph digs, the more intricately related they become. Who is his uncle, really? And why does his home seem occupied by a family when clearly no one else lives there? Why do none of the facts line up? Joseph sets out to find the truth, and in turn, finds out so much more than he could have ever imagined.

From the beginning of this book I was hooked. The first half is told in Selznick's classic illustrations, and the story of the Marvels was beautiful and heartbreaking. After Billy is rescued, he helps build the Royal Theatre and his progeny become some of the most beloved and well-known actors for generations to come. It's a sweet story until one son, generations down, doesn't want to be an actor. The family falls apart. When we move into the written portion of the story, I was confused for a few pages but still drawn in. As I moved through the actual prose, though, it all started to become clear.

This book was like going on a date with a guy that seems intriguing but may not actually be your type, yet the more time you spend with him, the more you realize that you are falling fast and you don't ever not want to be around him. At first you were just interested, but now you are fascinated and moved and curious. You never want to stop talking. Except here it is reading.

Once I put two and two together, I found that I was so moved and happy and overwhelmed with joy at this book that I never wanted it to not be in my life. The ending moved me to tears. It was unexpected and joyous and sad. I love that I can add this book to my collection and revisit it over time. Lovely. Just so, so, so lovely. 

For purchase below. 

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