The Museum of Extraordinary Things

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

by Alice Hoffman
4.0 60


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The Museum of Extraordinary Things: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alice Hoffman is a beautifully gifted writer. Her imagery creates a world of magic and love for her readers. Her beautiful prose shows us how fragile and vulnerable we all are and how strong our need for love is. Her mystical imagination sees magic in the world and enables us to do the same. Her writing is endearing, soulful and true to our hearts. Many of Hoffman's novels are historically placed and her lovely writing makes these places real and believable, and teaches us that some things remain the same: our need for love and understanding. Use a bit of imagination, a love of poetic phrasing, belief in possibility, and you will enjoy this story of flawed and misunderstood characters . misunderstood characters. They are representative of of all of us.
MoonshadowJM More than 1 year ago
Disappointing and lacked the magic of other Alice Hoffman books.  This book had a lot of promise and the beginning drew me in. It is set in a very interesting time for New York City and crafted around historic events, which is what I liked about the book.  However, the ending fell flat and I found it predictable. I also didn't get the "love at first site" for Coralie and Edward, nor what they saw in each other.  This felt forced.  
pandabearCM More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot of Alice Hoffman and like her better as a writer whose novels are set in the present time and in the local Boston area.(I am from Boston so I think I like the local setting). While I like history and fiction to combine the two is very hard; either the fiction or history is compromised. In addition, Alice Hoffman's liking stories that involve magic does not go well together with historic factiods. The story of Coralie I found to be totally unrealistic. I did not think a girl that had been raised the way she had been as much of a chance of becoming a normal person without much help. The romance of the story is love at first site. I did not see what Eddie and Coralie saw in each other. The story of Eddie Cohen breaking away from Orthodox Jewish tradition is better. Also I liked the story about the poor factory workers living in the same city as the rich factory owners was effective. However, I did not feel the two story lines of the circus and Eddie the photographer ands immigrant combined well. They belong in two separate novels. Received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
AriChandra More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book, Alice Hoffman is in a category all her own. 
-Angelle- More than 1 year ago
Enchanting read! I love how she weaved the characters' past & current together through their own narratives- it added great depth and dimension through their own words. This is my third book by Alice Hoffman and I am officially hooked! 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful, magical masterpiece from Ms. Hoffman. I was enchanted.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Museum of Extraordinary Things is an amazing book centered around the lives of two young adults. This story is a fictional novel placed in Brooklyn throughout the early 20th century.The two young adults, Coraline and Eddie, have very different lives- that represent this world in a huge way. Coraline represents the misunderstood, the unwanted, the imperfections of this world. Eddie represents the way the heartless see the world; selfishly,stuck-up, feel like they deserve to be there instead of others. Eddie becomes a more loving and caring person by the end of the book. I didn’t quite understand how Coraline and Eddie fell in love or, how Coraline adjusted so quickly to “normal” ways of life, compared to her fathers mislead ones. Alice Hoffman is a very talented and imaginative writer. I like how she incorporated historical fires such as “The Uprising of the 20,000 and The Fire of Dreamland (The Amusement Park)” Coraline’s Father, once a well acclaimed misdirectionist (otherwise known as a magician) in France, moved to New York and his “magic” became more about the sciences when he finds young Coraline on the street, with the webbing in between her fingers, starts a Museum filled with odd things. His personality represents something much like our government, with a one sided relationship.Eddie, a photographer, is faced with a challenge of finding a dead girl from the first fire mentioned. He only skims the surface of life, but when faced with this challenge learns the dark sides of life its imperfections. Coraline on the other hand is raised with the imperfections and soon learns the good parts of life. The book in the beginning starts off very interesting but near the end came to a quick halt and was very dry. Overall the book was beautifully written and Alice Hoffman is a very gifted writer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've always loved Alice Hoffman's work. That being said, you may need to start an antidepressant after reading this one. Dark and sad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not my favorite of hoffman's work, but still great and well worth the read. The characters have stayed with me long after finishing the book, as well as the stories. A love story, combined with a search for the truth behind a girl's death, combined with tale after tale of coming to terms with who you are.
muck0 More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully written!  Without giving away too much of the story, this novel divulged a lot of information about life, love, and that there is beauty,  even in the darkest moments, of this life. 
Daisyart More than 1 year ago
What a lovely book. Often novels feature lives of privilege, show casing lives that we would all like to have. This book instead takes us in the lives of real people who are the misfits and outcasts of society, and creates a view of life as it more often is, full of imperfect people with challenges. In the real world people are not neatly organized into those who are good and those who are evil, but more often we find our way in life, one step at a time, making mistakes and learning from them along the way. This novel, a it's core, is a story of struggle, of love, and redemption, told in a captivating and moving way. Read this one, you won't regret it.
Anonymous 11 days ago
Omg I loved this story!
KateUnger More than 1 year ago
The Museum of Extraordinary Things was not a good fit for me. It was recommended to me by a coworker, and when she described the side-show museum, I immediately wanted to read it. I love books about the circus, and a museum of oddities is kind of like a circus, right? Sadly, this book was too character-driven for my taste. There just wasn’t enough plot. The book jumps back and forth between past and present and between two main characters. Coralie is living on Coney Island with her father. She has been appearing as the Mermaid Girl in his museum since she was ten years old. Eddie is a photographer in New York City investigating a missing girl after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. They both had rough upbringings, and eventually they meet. There was a little hook with a scheme Coralie’s father was planning that kept me reading, but I almost gave up on this book several times. I just didn’t care enough about either character. Every time there seemed to be some plot progression, it would jump back to the past again. Also, this book was strangely written in various tenses. First person for each character during their flashbacks, and third person for the present day story. There were some minor characters who I found interesting, but none of them redeemed this book in my mind. It just wasn’t for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautifully written...Very different from my usual books..I did enjoy it..
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
This really looks and sounds like my kind of book. I did like some things, but it never really grabbed my attention and held on. It moved slowly at times, and maybe I was a little distracted while reading and didn't connect as well as needed. When I felt something it was mostly down feelings. There's not much in the hope and happiness side to level out the sadness and depression vibe. I wanted Coralie to stand up for herself WAY before she finally made the decision. I was actually able to empathize with Eddie a lot more. There wasn't anyone that really stood out to me as a character that I loved. I think I would have liked to know the Wolfman's story more than the ones given. All I took away from this was a major thankfulness that I wasn't alive during that time period. It must have been hell on earth.
Michelle_Palmer More than 1 year ago
Excellent story based in history. Though the book had a bit of a slow start for me it was absolutely fascinating to read the story of both the historical events contained in it and the story of the amazing characters created by Hoffman. The main characters are multi-dimensional and interesting. Coralie was brought up in a "museum" that is really another name for what used to be called a "freak show" full of "living wonders." These wonders are her friends and sometimes even teachers. Her father is a complete jerk (as only someone who owns a "museum" like this could be) and trains her from a VERY young age to be a "living wonder" as a mermaid. She goes on night swims in the NY rivers and then eventually performs as a mermaid in the museum. The other main character is Eddie. Eddie is a Russian Jew who immigrated with his father and then abandoned his father to apprentice for a local photographer. Both of their stories are told through a series of flashbacks. The plot of the story is book-ended by the stories of two real and disastrous fires in NYC history: the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the Coney Island Dreamland fire. Both were real world fires that claimed a multitude of lives and both are rendered well in Hoffman's prose. The story of how these two characters find and save each other and others along the way is beautifully written and at times heartbreaking.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
Set in the early years of the 1900s, Alice Hoffman’s The Museum of Extraordinary Things invites readers to the wonders of Coney Island entertainment and New York city, where garment workers bleed for their craft, and the rich are different. On Coney Island, a young girl grows up believing she’s a freak, and as such, will be destroyed should the world ever find her. But her father makes a living from freaks, so one day, when she’s old enough, she’ll be a part of his show. Meanwhile a young Jewish boy feels that he too doesn’t belong. Leaving the piece-work of the garment factories, he hones his talent for observation, learns to find things, and becomes a photographer, recording the cruelties that lead to unionization and hope. Historical events are woven into this tale but fade into the background, like an ancient photograph dissolving in light. Two lives twist across the pages, clean and dark, and it’s clear they’ll meet, or else they have met, or else they dream—two motherless children, growing up, despairing of love, and learning in the end that love is the most extraordinary thing. Narration shifts from two first-person protagonists to an omniscient observer and back. History shifts through fire and smoke. And a picture emerges, as if from the photographer’s plate—one mystery resolved, and the mystery of love left to shine. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is a slightly odd, oddly absorbing, and infinitely fascinating novel of a world gone by, yet not so far gone from our own. I really enjoyed it. Disclosure: I bought a copy when I found it on a deal.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the premise of the book, however the book fell very short of my expectations. The "love story" between the 2 main characters felt weird and unlikely. The book was slow, then it got a little better, building up to what I thought was going to be a great ending but ended up being totally unpredictable and unimaginative. Also, a little dark for my taste. Alice Hoffman is great writer though. This just wasnt one of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Many interesting characters. Imaginative plot weaving together NY of early 1900s , deplorable unsafe working conditions for the poor versus lavish life for the rich, women's lowly place in all strata of society, love for parents & friends & animals & nature, romantic love, the human need for self-worth & respect, the healing power of forgiveness.
CMKmom More than 1 year ago
This is the story about one of those sea-side exhibition places in the early part of the Century. It was a small operation, with a very determined father who exhibited his child as a mermaid who didn't breath oxygen - she was in a tank of water, and there was a trick to her show. She could grab a breath of air via a tube that was hidden from the audience. Other people there were a wolf man, and other human oddities, living and dead. The father was a very controlling person and really the bad guy here. It was a pretty dark book, playing on the worst side of human beings. Of course a man finds this girl and they become a couple and he and he and his story was also part of the book. It was a good book though, but a dark story. You may like it - I did because it is something I never knew about the entertainment industry of those times.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of my new favs. Great storytelling. The atmosphere of New York during the Industrial Revolution is protrayed well. Characters likeable and believable.
floridakeys More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. It was hard to put down! The character development is fantastic. The plot keeps you guessing. This is the first book I had read by Alice Hoffman, but now I am hooked! Beautifully written with amazing detail.