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The One-in-a-Million Boy Paperback – April 18, 2017
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In The One-in-a-Million Boy, Monica Wood tells a magical, beautifully written story about the healing power of friendship, music, and unexpected, generation-spanning connections. As emotionally resonant as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, this novel hums with energy, warmth, wisdom, humor, and soul.“ —Christina Baker Kline, author ofOrphan Train
From the Inside Flap
The incandescent story of a 104-year-old woman and the sweet, strange young boy assigned to help her around the house a friendship that touches each member of the boy s unmoored family. For years, guitarist Quinn Porter has been on the road, chasing gig after gig, largely absent to his twice ex-wife Belle and their odd, acutely observant eleven-year-old son, who is obsessed with Guinness World Records. When the boy dies suddenly, Quinn seeks forgiveness for his paternal shortcomings by completing the requirements for his son s unfinished Boy Scout badge. For seven Saturdays, Quinn does yard work for Ona Vitkus, the spry, 104-year-old Lithuanian immigrant the boy had visited weekly. Quinn soon discovers that the boy had talked Ona into gunning for the world record for Oldest Licensed Driver and that s the least of her secrets. Despite himself, Quinn picks up where the boy left off, forging a friendship with Ona that allows him to know the son he never understood: a boy who was always listening, always learning. "The One-in-a-Million Boy" is a richly layered novel of very real hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and yet still within reach of a stunning act of human devotion. " --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book jumps between Quinn's and Ona's perspectives, and a set of tape recordings the boy made with Ona, interviewing her about her life for a school project.
Wood is a master writer. Her style is never to heady and overdone, yet builds people and locations that are incredibly vivid and true. Every character is completely real to me as I read. You love them the moment they are introduced. The motion throughout is quiet and introspective, but moves, constantly, through their lives together in a natural way that never seems slow. You want to be with them, and miss them when the story is over. It's hard to explain, I guess, how good Monica Wood is until you read. When you don't see the writing, only the images and events she is building with words. The first and foremost sign of a perfect storyteller.
In my previous review I'd said ERNIE'S ARK could easily be the Great American Novel if it had been a novel and not a story collection, and I could easily say the same to this one. One small slice of the American pie, like the other taking place in Maine, the author's home state.
I can't recommend this book enough. Beautiful, touching, funny, and full of of real people who are trying their best to live their lives after the bottom has dropped out from under them, in their own, unique way.
I won't recount the story as readers will want to discover it's layers for themselves. Monica Wood has a way of making complex emotions accessible and true - her latest novel will delight readers of her previous books, and also those just discovering her unique and beautiful storytelling.
However, the whole thing felt morose, and I found myself feeling grouchy after each reading spell. The characters are understandably sad, because of a recent death. Still, I hope for some luminosity when I read something, some glistening of human loveliness. And after halfway through this book, I didn't see much hope of that unfolding.