Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The One-in-a-Million Boy

The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood, 323 pages

Ms. Ona Vitkus is 104 years old, and the local boy scout troop has just foisted another of its members on her to help out around the house. But this boy is different: he's what so many people dub "an old soul," obsessed with world records and collecting merit badges, and a friendship develops between them. But when the boy dies suddenly (I'm not spoiling anything by saying this — you find this out within the first three pages), his somewhat flaky father takes over his weekly visits to Ms. Vitkus, leading to a friendship that neither of them could have anticipated.

I read this book on the recommendation of a friend with whom I share an affinity for books about quirky friendships and odd people. This book (which mixes prose chapters with one-sided interview transcripts and lists of Guinness World Records) certainly fits the bill, and is definitely one I'd recommend. That said, it hit a bit too close to home for me to fully appreciate it for what it is — the unnamed kid is uncannily similar to my similarly aged son (including the fact that both have librarians for mothers) and Ms. Vitkus reminds me of my 104-year-old grandmother — and instead left me a bit unsettled.

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