Book Review: The Museum of Intangible Things

by The Dreamer

The Museum of Intangible Things – Wendy Wunder

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The pristine, non-dogged eared condition of this book drew my gaze to it among the entire shelf of books. The hipster in me loved the cover, which attracted me to open the book. The title, plot and the author made me borrow it.

Wendy Wunder’s The Probability of Miracles is shelved under my all-time favourites. And the entire idea of a bizarre roadtrip with your best friend, experiencing first puppy love and escaping from my reality has always been one of the most appealing ideas. However, this book was not lightweight and fun, as expected from the gorgeous cover.

Don’t get me wrong. I loved this book. It was slightly disturbing, but reached out to me in so many levels. But for those who are uncomfortable with a read dealing with the topic of mental illnesses, this is not the book for you.

Firstly, I really liked the entire idea of “The Museum of Intangible Things” that crazy, and crazily beautiful best friend Zoe came up with for her autistic younger brother who cannot comprehend emotions. The way Wunder describes the museum artifacts made my head wander to wonderful lands. I was eager to see the museum in real life afterward, and perhaps if I ever become a early interventionist for children with special needs (my dream) , I would create my own museum.

Noah, the younger brother, was one of the characters I actually liked in this book. His whole obsession with supernovas and space and his determination in trying to understand emotions was touching and heartwarming. I liked the innocence in his voice while was always a relief after having to take in so much heaviness in this book.

Anyway, the protagonist Hannah, albeit having gone through this entire heart-racing and life-changing experience with her BFF, seemed rather plain to me. She never insisted on stopping Zoe (who has bipolar disorder) when she went too far. She stopped resisting and compromised when Zoe said “No”. It seemed to me that Hannah had no voice and no strength and was going too out of line with her sisterly love for Zoe, and maybe partly because she was sympathetic towards Zoe, who is convinced she hears a calling from aliens. Heck, she even flashed to cowboys because Zoe asked her too!

However, this is not to say I admire Hannah and her perseverance. Even after having a wrecked family and her hard-earned money stolen from her own father, she went on with life. Yes, this roadtrip was a breather from her heck of a life, but she was always thinking of turning back to New Jersey, no matter how hard life was. She stood her ground and said No to Danny until she was sure Danny had broken up with his girlfriend, no matter how irresistible he was.

Zoe was those kind of characters who walked like she belonged to a different world. She is reckless yet brave. She is stupid yet beautiful. She is a living breathing oxymoron. And I loved her and cried for her and hated her. She made me feel a riot of emotions because of her bipolarity, but I was touched by her unconditional love and loyalty for Hannah.

I was peeved that it took like 100 pages before the road-trip started, but I was not disappointed. Of course, some things made me feel uncomfortable, like tasering a poor innocent security guard and stealing cars and the sex (which was not in detail, thank god). I did like Hannah’s taste in men though. The shy, seemingly wallflower type yet becomes brave when it comes to romance. Zoe’s cousin, the shy cowboy and Danny – I devoured them all with delight (: Thanks, Wunder.

I liked the amount of sarcasm injected in the tone of the entire book, especially the dialogue. In my heart, I knew the ending was very bleak, but Wunder used her words to encapsulate the last few pages with a magical fog of hope and mystique. I liked that little bit of spirituality and the lessons I got from the book. I’m not going to delve into detail into what lessons specifically,  it’s for you to read and experience first hand, because it’s definitely different for everyone.

“She really needs to believe she’s special. I admire that about her. Because you have to believe you’re special before you can do anything special”

“I think there could be different versions of truth, he says. You choose your truth, and then you build your life around it.”

“Perfect should never be a goal. Perfect just happens if you let it.”

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