Friday, February 27, 2015

The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

Coralie is a sheltered girl.  Hidden away from the world by her over-protective father on Coney Island in her fathers museum. Coralie is one of the specimans in the museum because of a webbing between her fingers. Her father has her don a mermaid contraption and swim in the tank with a small clear tube for air.  Coralie's mother died when he was young and she completely depends on her father.

At the same time there is another story unfolding.  Eddie grew up has a good little Jewish boy escaped from Russia and slaving by his father's side in the garment district.  But, then things changed.  Eddie's father was afraid of life and what the world handed them - and Eddie couldn't take it anymore.  He left and found his true passion - photography.  He came across an old man in the woods around NYC taking pictures of trees in the darkness.  And everything changed.  Eddie changed his name and embraced a new life as an apprentice.  And then the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire happened.

Coralie and Eddie cross paths briefly once, twice - and then their worlds became completely entwined.

I really liked this book.  There were times that were rather preachy - like we were in a history class listening to what Coney Island used to be like.  But there were also so many quirky personalities - including the main characters.

One other thing - the cover image - WOW! I kept imagining Coralie looking out of her tank with those eyes!  completely admit it was the cover that pulled me in to this story!

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