Book Blurbs · Book Club Pick

Book Blurbs: The Museum of Extraordinary Things

Book Blurbs is a monthly peek into our book club meetings, where we share our random thoughts or opinions on the book we selected for the month. Some months most of us have read the book, others no one made it all the way through. But either way, we’ll give you a quick review, some first impressions, a reason we couldn’t finish, or any general bookish thoughts about our current read.


In January, we read The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman. This book tells the story of Coralie Sardie, the daughter of the man who operates the titular Museum of Extraordinary Things on Coney Island. The Museum is a boardwalk freak show, filled with such extraordinary things as a Wolfman, a mermaid, and a Butterfly Girl. Coralie becomes entangled in a romance with a dashing photographer named Eddie Cohen, and all sorts of extraordinary adventures ensue.


Read on to see what Book Club Sunday members thought of The Museum of Extraordinary Things:


I wish Coralie and… what was his name?! met sooner in the book than they did because I was overall uninterested in whats-his-name (as you can tell) and his story. The whole book felt a bit disjointed – warehouse fire? Hermit living in the woods? Carnivals? – and was a bit creepy (but that is my personal opinion as anything related to carnivals creeps me out). I really only liked two characters (Coralie and her “nanny”) and I did enjoy the ending AND I do enjoy Alice Hoffman’s writing (Practical Magic, anyone?!) but I wouldn’t personally recommend this read (unless you enjoy mean fathers, petty crime, outcasts living in forests, and carnivals) 🙂

~Danielle, read the whole book


I wanted to like this book so badly. The idea of an old-fashioned Coney Island boardwalk freak show made me think that it was going to be a colorful spectacle full of excitement and drama but instead it was a dusty, dingy, dark museum where everyone was miserable. I thought there were too many storylines happening at once and they only sort of tied together at the end. I wasn’t invested in the love story because the two characters spent the majority of the book not even knowing each other so I found myself not caring when they claimed to immediately love each other. The tie-in with the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire was interesting (possibly because I feel like I learned about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire seemingly every year of my entire education), though it took a very long time for it to seem relevant. I know a lot of people really like this book, so maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for it.

~Sarah, read the whole book


I didn’t read a word of this book, but from what I gather from the lively Book Club discussion, it was filled with loads of weird plot twists and unexpected reveals. If anyone would like to know my many thoughts on the totally unrelated Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, I would be happy to share them with you, as that is the book I read instead of this one.

~Emily, didn’t read the book

I wanted to like this book. Actually, I wanted to read this book. But it just didn’t hook me (Mermaid pun unintended but totally appreciated). But hearing the book club discussion made me wish I had at least given it a better shot.

~Molly, read a teeny bit of the book


The remaining members of Book Club Sunday were either so taken with The Museum of Extraordinary Things that they couldn’t put into words how they felt about it, or they just didn’t get around to sharing their thoughts this month. There’s always next time!

Wishing every day were Book Club Sunday!


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