REVIEW: THE ONE-IN-A-MILLION BOY BY MONICA WOOD

Due to time restraints while I work on my own novel, reviews on this site will now comprise a book blurb and a short response.

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If you’re looking for a book that entertains and is thought-provoking at the same time, The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood has that wrapped up in a bright red package. Here’s the blurb:

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.

Themes of ageing, regret, love and loss, ambition and unexplored dreams abound in the beautifully written The One-in-a-Million Boy. Written in a mix of flashback via some one-sided voice recordings, and present-day narrative, the style is quirky, but in a way that draws out much more than laughter. Readers get to know the one-in-a-million boy through others’ memories and reflections, even through the unseen questions he asks Ona. They get to know Ona and realise that even at 104, she is not too old to dream, feel insecurity about her ageing body, and want her story to be told. And as Quinn, the boy’s father, gets to know Ona, he also gets to know himself and his son.

I loved this book. It warmed my heart. And it reminded me, how judgemental we can be of people we think are ‘different’, simply because we don’t take, or have, the time to really get to know them.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99AUD). My copy was courtesy of Hachette.