How will it look like when you fuse different types of fiction into one book? The result is a completely enjoyable literature to be read with your whole family. This is what Brian Selznick gives to us, fantasy readers, in his book The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
Mr. Selznick himself was confused when he was asked what kind of book is it, but he lightly answered, “It is not exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things.” But, whatever the kind of book Hugo is, it is a very good book to read.
From his background as a children’s books illustrator, Mr. Selznick wrote about this historical fiction set in Paris 1930s and drew all of the pictures (cover about half of the novel) by himself. This is also the first novel that ever won Caldecott Medal which is actually given to the best picture books.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret follows the adventure of an orphan named Hugo behind the walls of Gare Montparnasse train station in Paris, where he worked as a clock keeper. During his mean time, Hugo occasionally stole toy gears from a toy shop in the station owned by an old man named Papa Georges for an automaton he’d been trying to restore. He also occasionally tried to escape from the Station Inspector. These constant escapes occurred because his uncle – the real clock keeper – had gone somewhere and never come back.
One day, when Isabella (the old man’s goddaughter) and Papa Georges had an argument, Hugo made an attempt to steal some gears from an unused mice toy. Unfortunately, Papa Georges caught him and took Hugo’s notebook about the automaton, but Hugo managed to escape, leaving his most precious treasure to fix the automaton in the hand of the old man. This event was later followed by a series of other amazing events which at the climax changed Hugo’s life, Papa Georges’ life, Isabella’s life and the other characters’ life forever.
Brian Selznick really assured that his readers will dive deep to the core of his story. His keys to make this book attracts lots of fans are the usage of pictures which is very rare in fictions, historical elements that add the ‘antique’ and ‘great historic’ impressions, and complex plots and characterizations that just make you more curious pages by pages about the ending.
But, the most important thing of all is the messages Hugo contains which Mr. Selznick intentionally or unintentionally wrote. However, the messages are very deep, because when I finished reading this book, I had a thought, “So this is how it feels to being from none to someone, and to achieve something you really want that you put every inches of your life to realize it.”
This process, which we called from zero to hero, is a very hard process where only few managed to pass. Hugo faced many tests and hardships along the path to fix his automaton, yet he kept on doing it and in the end he prevailed. For me, this evolution is what every person should have, because it educates us the true meaning of life.
This book, melting the barriers between young and adult readers, is able to satisfy the thirst of literature fans with the story and the messages it contains completely. So, what are you waiting for? Grab the book!