The Book of Wonders by Julien Sandrel

The Book of Wonders: The perfect feel-good novel for summer 2019! is a definitive up-lit read that tells the story of Thelma, a career-obsessed mother and her twelve-year-old son Louis. Thelma’s world is turned upside down when she is out with Louis one day in their hometown of Paris. Louis gets run over and ends up in hospital in a coma. As a consequence of this tragic accident, Thelma decides to quit her dissatisfying job and spends all day at Louis’s hospital bedside.

Thelma discovers Louis’s Book of Wonders, his notebook, where he has recorded his hopes and dreams for the future. As Louis is unable to carry out these dreams and wishes himself, Thelma decides to carry them out for him then record them and play them back to Louis in hospital so he can experience them second-hand. Of course, the results of her endeavours are both hilarious and nerve-wracking (depending on the kind of task that it is).

The Book of Wonders is at times heart-breaking (you’ll need tissues) and at other times joyful. The plot is simple but highly effective and the characters are very well drawn. It is no surprise that it has done hugely well in France. Comparisons have already been made with Eleanor Oliphant and the subject matter and excellent characterisation by Sandrel will I’m sure, ensure that it does just as well in the UK and across the world.

The most powerful message that you take away from this book is that life is too important to spend time working in a job which you despise and where no one really appreciates you. Time should instead be spend with friends and family that you love and respect and who love and respect you in turn, as life is short. The ending of the book itself is unexpected and a lovely touch (I won’t spoil it by giving it away). The Book of Wonders is a definite must read that will touch your heart and restore your faith in humanity.

Published by

Jo Cameron-Symes

I believe cultural criticism and analysis should be both accessible and help to further enrich peoples' lives. I have an MA from the University of York in the Sociology of Contemporary Culture and was previously the Chair of a regional charity for people with long term illness. During my time as Chair I noticed that the people I met who embraced culture and used it to enrich and explore their lives found that it enhanced their quality of life. Through accessing and exploring exhibitions, media and gardens that helped people including myself to cope with their current life situation.

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