26 June, 2016

#BookReview :: The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

Miss Ona Vitkus has - aside from three months in the summer of 1914 - lived unobtrusively, her secrets fiercely protected.

The boy, with his passion for world records, changes all that. He is eleven. She is one hundred and four years, one hundred and thirty three days old (they are counting). And he makes her feel like she might be really special after all. Better late than never...

Only it's been two weeks now since he last visited, and she's starting to think he's not so different from all the rest.

Then the boy's father comes, for some reason determined to finish his son's good deed. And Ona must show this new stranger that not only are there odd jobs to be done, but a life's ambition to complete . . . 

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This is one of those books that are bound to make you cry. The blurb was enough to realize that and so I sat down to read the book with tissues ready at hand.

The book is about the friendship between two very unlikely people and how it affects the people around them. When an 11 year old boy scout comes to Ona for odd jobs so that he can earn another scouting badge, Ona thinks very little of it. After all at the age of 104, Ona has seen and experienced enough of life. She never expected the boy to stick around or to form a relationship with him. But when he stops coming over, Ona assumes the worst. After a while, the boy’s father turns up and explains that the boy had died and that he was there to finish his work. As the parents of the boy and Ona get to know each other, they learn a lot about not only the boy, but also about themselves and life.

Beautifully written, this is a completely engaging book. The language and narrative used are both very eloquent and as such it added much to the plot. The characters are all very different from each other and have all been fleshed out quite well. They have their own quirks and flaws making them human and easy to relate to. The theme of loss is very strong in the book. With the boy’s death each person deals with the loss of his absence in their life. They each have their own take on it and their own process of dealing with it. At the same time there is this feeling that the author wanted to take a look at the aspects of love as well. I have to admit that the ending bugged me a lot. Without giving any spoilers, all I can say that the way the author wrapped up everything was all too neat for me. Real life is messy and not everything ties up so neatly no matter how much we want or try.

Review Copy received from Hachette India

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