Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

by Alice Hoffman
Nov 24-Dec28, 2014

I finished reading this book a week ago, and unlike a really great book you can't stop thinking about, I haven't given this one another thought. Historical fiction can not only be educational, but also entertaining – within the right context. This story is sandwiched in between two horrific fires: the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the Dreamland fire. These unimaginable tragedies do not make for an entertaining read, especially when the author adds in a deplorable father whose inhuman acts would disturb and trouble even the most stoic reader.

With New York City at the turn of the last century as one of the other main "characters," I felt that more focus was placed upon it than the actual people and their unconvincing, evolving love story. In other words, I feel there was just too much crammed into one book. There were times when I would be completely engrossed and read page after page. But more times than not, I would drift off and have no comprehension of what I just read. Really great potential, but never fully realized.

My favorite parts we those of Maureen, the "faithful" servant and nanny, and her secret love affair with the Wolfman. More focus should have been placed on them, than on Coralie and Eddie. Why does it always seem that historical fiction needs to have a love-at-first-sight plot? Include a bunch of convenient resolutions, and it's one cliche after another. I'm not sure I've ever read a Hoffman novel before, but for some reason her name stands out in my mind. Unfortunately now it's not for a good reason.

Oh well, on to better books. Happy 2015!

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