Books set in Europe, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Historical Fiction, Selznik-Brian, Young Adult

#711 The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian SelznikThe Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik

Hugo lives behinds the clocks in a train station. He takes care of them, ever since his uncle disappeared. Hugo used to have a father, but he died in an awful fire at the museum where he worked. From Hugo’s father and his uncle, Hugo has learned much about working on clocks and keeping them running.

When Hugo still lived with his father, his father founds a strange mechanical little man in the attic of the museum. He was trying to fix it when the fire broke out. He had given Hugo one of his notebooks detailing the insides of the mechanical man. It seemed that the mechanical man was supposed to write as there was a pen in its hand. Hugo takes the mechanical man from the ruins of the fire when he goes to live with his uncle, but it’s not long before Hugo is alone.

Hugo must keep the clocks in the station running so no one will come investigate to see if his uncle is still around. He resorts to stealing food from a nearby cafe and small parts from a nearby toy cart to repair his mechanical man. He thinks that his father might have configured the mechanical man to write Hugo one last message. Things are not going as Hugo has planned them. He gets caught by the toy seller and his notebook is taken.

Hugo soon makes friends with the god-daughter of the toy seller. The toy seller tells Hugo that he can work off his debt by helping at the toy cart. None of Hugo’s new friends know that he lives behind clocks in a train station by himself. Hugo eventually gets the mechanical man working and it produces something both strange and familiar to Hugo. He goes in search of what this may mean, not ever thinking that it would all lead back to the old toy seller.

What I liked

This was quite an enjoyable book. Hugo’s story is sweet It’s also sad that he was left alone, but it’s sweet that he does manage to find some solace and a place in the world from a mechanical man. There’s just enough fantasy in this book to make it that much more exciting.

The man mentioned in this book Georges Melies is was a real person, in fact, he’s kind of the father of the film industry. He was a magician, as stated in this book, and he did go on to basically be the first man to create special effects for films. What this book tells about Georges is fairly accurate. If you wanted an easy to read, historical fiction about the early era of film and Georges Melies, this is a great place to start.

What I didn’t like

I thought this was a pretty great book and there isn’t really anything I didn’t like, besides the sad parts of this story, of course.


What a neat little book.

Weigh In

What would you do if you found a strange mechanical man?

What would you want a mechanical man to do?


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