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And I'm always an Alice Hoffman fan, so there. View all 6 comments. This was sloooooowwwww!!! Oh so slow for my tastes. I think maybe I was expecting something else when I picked this book up. It was a bunch of short anecdotes of people involved in the museum with one consistent backstory that popped up every now and then. Like for two pages, admist all the walking, staring into the mirror and on how to be a pathetic character.

And then the major development of the book, the development promised in the blurb happen 2 Stars! And then the major development of the book, the development promised in the blurb happened on page What happened before that, I wonder. Oh and the ever-shitting insta-love?!!! What was up with that. This was such a bust. People say that if you hate this one, you will like The Night Circus. So I might read that at some point. But for now, I am done with Magical Realism. The first part of the book did not initially draw me in or hold my interest, and it took almost half-way thru to see where the story was headed with any connection between Eddie and Coralie, the protagonists.

There are great secondary characters though, particularly Maureen and Mr. Morris as well as the vile Professor Sardie Coralie's father who exploits every animal and human alike including his own daughter all 3. Morris as well as the vile Professor Sardie Coralie's father who exploits every animal and human alike including his own daughter all in the name of greed. This was an interesting read about Coralie who was born with a deformity, and who now works for her father in The Museum of Extraordinary Things.

This museum is placed on Coney Island in the s, and it's an exhibition of magical or deformed creatures who are not considered humans. This story is also about Eddie; a photographer working in New York City. Every second chapter is told from his perspective, and the rest is told from Coralie's.

While this was a very intriguing story about how abnor This was an interesting read about Coralie who was born with a deformity, and who now works for her father in The Museum of Extraordinary Things. While this was a very intriguing story about how abnormal people can be treated and looked upon, it also had a very slow pacing. The beginning of the book is heavy on the descriptions, and it isn't until the very last chapters that things start to really pick up and you see what the bigger picture is. While I don't need for a book to have a fast pace throughout, I found myself bored reading most of this book.

Eddie's story was highly interesting because it was relatable. I found it fascinating reading about his photographies and his growing up into adulthood.

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Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for Coralie. While I suffered with her, I just couldn't connect with her in any way, which made all of her chapters dull to me. This was my first book by Alice Hoffman, and despite my problems with its pacing and one of its characters, it has impeccable writing! Alice knows her craft and I enjoyed stumbling upon beautiful phrases. I still wonder, though, why she decided to split each chapter up in a section from a 1st person narrator and then a section from a 3rd person narrator - both sections were on the same character.

That feature puzzled me quite a bit, and I don't feel like it added too much to the story. All in all, an interesting and educating read that however took a lot of devotion to get through. View all 3 comments. Apr 18, Emma rated it liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , america-hf. The first half was quite good. I thought the reviewers had it wrong and that the stars should be higher..

But the second half, I lost interest and ended up speed reading. My first book by this author. It might well be the last. View 2 comments. Feb 25, Dustin rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Everyone. Shelves: magical-realism , library , historical-fiction , favorites. Practical Magic which spawned the film, starring Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, and Goran Visnjic, seemed to primarily focus on the progression of plot, as opposed to character development. In between chapters, I seem to recall there being interludes containing various ingredients, mostly natural herbs, which, in light of the rest of the novel, added a little something.

The writing itself, however, left much to be desired.

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At the time, it felt mediocre, though I could be mistaken, as I often reminds myself that memory is subjective. And I longed for more plot and action. On a side note, the film is one of the very rare instances where I actually prefer it over the novel. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is wholly different. In fact, I recognized almost instantly that the writing is truly stellar.


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In the interim, she honed her craft by leaps and bounds. In hindsight, I think I knew that as long as her exquisite writing persisted, and featured a compelling, well thought out cast, and decent storytelling, then it would be time wisely spent. It is all that, and much more.

Extraordinary Things Recovered From Ice

In a word, it's masterful. One of its strongest aspect is, undoubtedly, its historical accuracy, and for that alone Hoffman should be commended. In in the midst of devastation, heroism inevitably arises. It has to. Such wisdom seems true not only in real life, but in fiction, as well.

Review: 'The Museum of Extraordinary Things,' by Alice Hoffman

And in my admittedly limited experience, no other author does it as well as Hoffman. This fascinating development allowed the crux of the story to thrive. Their innovative techniques in photography played significant parts in forever altering how we perceive art, the world, and to some extent, ourselves. Go back in time as far as you must. Speak to everyone who knew her.

But you know what to do. As seen here, the influx of Russian and Ukranian individuals that desired better lives for themselves and their children. Much like Hochman and E. The two main characters, Eddie Cohen and Coralie Sardie, the daughter of a French immigrant and curator of the freakish museum, alternate back a forth, practically vying for dominance. Its format is interesting, too, because the first half of each chapter reads almost like journal entries, which takes you to the heart of these great characters.

The first person combined with third person narration allows you to know them much, much more. I feel like I know them on a very personal level. Everything fell into place nicely and nothing felt contrived I even found myself rooting for Eddie and Coralie to be together, which is rare for me. That one unknowable element, I guess.. For that reason alone, I dropped my rating down to a strong 4. It amazes me still, that so much growth and maturity is possible in an individual, and that Alice Hoffman was able to achieve it in a relatively short duration. Then again, what do you expect from an author that had her debut novel, Property Of, published while attending college, at twenty-one years of age?

I might just have to revisit Practical Magic, after all! View all 10 comments. Feb 14, Jenna rated it it was amazing Shelves: contemporary-fiction , you-ll-love-this-one , arc , 5-stars-baby , netgalley , historical-fiction , to-review , favorites. What a ride!! I'll be posting my review tomorrow This is my favorite of the year so far. It may seem like I am giving the book away, but I promise that I am barely touching the surface. Well, maybe the night after I saw the traveling pr What a ride!! On the bottom there were shells gathered from all over the world, from the Indian Ocean to the China Sea.

I did not need further instructions. I understood that all of my life had been mere practice for this very moment. Without being asked, I slipped off my shoes. I knew how to swim. The human eye was not capable of true sight, for it was constrained by its own humanness, clouded by regret, and opinion, and faith. Whatever was witnessed in the real world unknowable in real time. It was the eye of the camera that captured the world as it truly was.

View all 12 comments. Jan 12, Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it. Alice Hoffman gives insight what it must have been like to live at this time in a city that contained unbelievable wealth and unbelievable poverty. She frames her story around two major fires that took place at that time. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire where over people died to a locked door, absence of a sprinkler system, and inadequate fire equipment, and most importantly greedy management. The second fire was the Dreamland Fire that for all practical purposes destroyed the area of Coney Island.

The story chronicles the lives of two young people. Coralie Sardie whose father owns a museum that today would be considered a freak show. He conditions his daughter to become a mermaid in his show and shelters her from the real world. Ezekiel Cohen who came to this country with his father find themselves at odds with each other regarding religion everyday life. He disowns his religion and his father and sets out to be a photographer. Ezekiel and Coralie come together when Ezekiel becomes involved in the hunt for a missing girl that may have run afoul while working for better working conditions in the sweat shops of New York.

A beautifully told story that should more than satisfy any reader interested in this era of history, but those that are also looking for a good romance mixed with mystery. I bought this on impulse and wish I hadn't. While at times the writing the lovely, I found the subject matter distressing. An ex magician runs a museum of "natural wonders" on Coney island, he's a vile and disgusting man who exploits everyone who works for him including his daughter.

There are so many ugly things in this book, parents who sell children, vulnerable people who are exploited, cruelty to animals, the cruelty of people to each other. The book also contains lengthy descriptions of two re I bought this on impulse and wish I hadn't. The book also contains lengthy descriptions of two real life fires that occurred in New York in There are some very good and kind people in the story There's some happiness at the end, but by then it was too late and didn't nearly make up for the misery that came before.

Nothing 'magical' about this book, just upsetting and depressing. View all 8 comments. Sep 20, Dianne rated it it was amazing Shelves: best-of There is so much to captivate you here — the story, the language, the history, the characters, the construction of the plot and the narration devices - all are masterfully done.

Hoffman clearly did her research on these events — there is vivid detail here and so Spellbinding! Hoffman clearly did her research on these events — there is vivid detail here and some of the actual players in those events find their way into this story. I was so interested in these events after reading the book that I did my own research afterwards and marveled at how much of what was in this book was actual history. The characters in the book are diverse and memorable. Morris a. Morris and Coralie — even the dog, Mitts, has an abundance of personality.

But the heart and soul of this book is a love story of two people, Coralie and Eddie, who have no reason to believe in love but find it in spite of some significant odds. Coralie is a young woman living on Coney Island with her father and their housekeeper, Maureen. Born with webbing between her fingers, Coralie has been exploited by her father as his star attraction — The Human Mermaid. With her father in desperate need of a newer and grander exhibit to compete with the Dreamland Amusement Park soon to open on Coney Island, Coralie is forced to swim the Hudson River at night, pretending to be a beast with teeth and green scales.

Eddie is a Ukrainian refugee. He and his father are Orthodox Jews living is a Brooklyn tenement and working in factory sweatshops as tailors. One day Eddie observes his father in what he perceives to be an act of cowardice. One thing leads to another until Eddie discovers his true calling as a photographer. One day Eddie awakens to hear fire bells and a roar echoing from downtown.

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He grabs his camera and makes his way to the Asch Building, where the 8th, 9th and 10th floors are on fire — the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. How all these disparate characters and threads come together is amazing. This is my first 5-star read of Highly recommend. A breakdown of my peeves: 1 Annoying faux Olde Worlde langu 1.

Once I noticed these tendencies I found them intensely aggravating. To make matters even worse view spoiler [ as soon as he sets eyes on her he falls in love with her? The author had obviously done her research but the way that historical facts were interspersed into the story was at times beyond clunky. In the next chapter Eddie finds out where Hannah Weiss is. He instantly falls in love with Coralie for no reason.

Alice Hoffman’s The Museum of Extraordinary Things (REVIEW)

It was just so boring. All of the problems and mysteries were instantly resolved hide spoiler ]. Then after he retrieves her body and attends the funeral he is followed home by a guy who tells him unprompted where the murder happened and why. I mean, wtf? First book fail of Oh well, it was a good run. View 1 comment. Thank you NetGalley and Scribner for an advanced copy of this book.

This story is about Coralie and Eddie. The books alternates between their narrations. Their separate narrations also alternate between 1st person and 3rd person. I found this to be a bit odd, but the book was so entertaining that it didn't bother me much. This museum is attached to their home. Coralie reminisces about her past, but mo Thank you NetGalley and Scribner for an advanced copy of this book. Coralie reminisces about her past, but most of the book takes place during her mid-teen years. Her childhood is dysfunctional, but that is not the fault of the odd people who work at the museum.


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These are people that would be considered "freaks of nature", but to Coralie they are unique and wonderful. Coralie also has her own distinctive talents that earn her a job among these people. At this same time, Eddie is a photographer in the city. He and his father are Jewish Russian immigrants. Growing up, Eddie is not at peace with his religion or his place in life and works to change it, sometimes by shady means. He abandons his father when he meets a famous photographer who takes Eddie under his wing.

Eddie becomes caught up in solving a missing person's case. This investigation eventually leads him to meeting Coralie. To me, this book is about trying to change your lot in life and learning to be thankful for certain things in your past that have molded you into the individual that you are.

I was instantly caught up in the details of Coralie's life and the museum and it's inhabitants. Hoffman paints such a unique and eerie cast of museum employees that are really so normal in their wants and needs. She also brings in interesting characters that relate to Eddie's story. I found this book to be very well balanced in terms of good character development and having a variety of history, mystery and romance.

For a book without any actual magic, it has a very magical atmosphere about it. This book could have stood on it's own with only Coralie's story, it was just that good to me. That is not to say I didn't enjoy Eddie's narrative because I did, I was just a bit more smitten with the cast of characters on Coney Island.

This is my first time reading Alice Hoffman, but it will not be my last. Gosh this book, was truly something! I picked it up on a whim and didn't expect to like it at all. The story revolves around extraordinary people who are being displayed in a Brooklyn museum. Coralie, the daughter of the museum owner is herself, a wonder. But only wishes to be ordinary and fall in love. Which is what happened when she met Eddie, an outcast photographer. The story revolves around the search for a missing girl and t Gosh this book, was truly something! The story revolves around the search for a missing girl and the gothic atmosphere surrounding this early era of New York in the 20th century.

You feel like you're living in this era: in all of its disturbing, glorified essence of harsh labour, cruelty, family and escaping your past. I find myself flinching a couple of times at the descriptive scenes. The writing pulls you in and is really beautiful. Enjoyed reading this, and would definitely recommend this. It reminds me of The Night Circus but is in a whole league of its own ; Update: So I did a read-a-long for this book a couple of weeks ago. And I thought I would start off a simple discussion.

Feel free to join and comment below if you've already read it! Let's start it off with some simple questions about the book: 1. The story revolved around 2 fires, what did you think this symbolises? Was Eddie able to let his past go? Did you sympathize with his decision to move away from his father? Why did Maureen choose to stay with the Professor and Coralie, in spite of his treatment of her? Now excuse me while I try to catch up with earlier Hoffman novels, and prepare yourself for an exciting ride that climaxes in a spectacular amusement park fire.


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