I’ve often read that adults gain no value from reading YA books. Well boo to them because they are missing out on some great stories – and valuable life lessons. Let me tell you about one such book that everyone should read.
The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkleblick* by Hattie Holden Edmonds introduces the reader to Oskar, the ultimate outsider. He’s been living on the Berlin streets since he was 13. To perk himself up, he paints the misery of mankind and has become the enfant terrible of the Berlin art scene. But one day during a not-so-routine eye test he tries on a pair of glasses which blow his bleak worldview to bits and give him a glimpse of heaven. Shortly after, to Oskar’s fury, he begins to see the beauty of the world around him, to feel a connection to others and, most frightening of all, to fall in love. Will it be an easy ride? Hell no.
I’m attracted to outcasts in a book so I knew Oskar would appeal to me. That’s not to say that I liked him very much at the beginning. See, Oskar does some awful things to people in order to create the perfect portraits of misery. It may be because we are in the lead up to the festive period but he reminded me somewhat of the Grinch and his love for awful things. If he meets the same fate as the Grinch, well, you will just have to read the book to find out.
Saying that Oskar is a pretty unique and interesting character in his own right. Some parts of him may be considered typical of what one would see around Berlin these days: a hipster interested in art. However, through his meanness and an almost addiction to sickness and we have a pretty different character. It’s also a breath of fresh air to have a book based in Germany without a mention of the war.
Indeed, I also enjoyed how this book was written. It was quite a simple language in a story that could have overcomplicated things. It also boasts some wonderful descriptive prose that allowed me to really imagine the scene. I also liked the flashback scenes to Oskar’s childhood and teenage years as they added much depth to the character and explained why he is the way he is.
However, the “life lessons” featured in this book are what makes it really special. The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkleblick is a new take on seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses. It shows us that there is another way to see the world – if we really want to. We learn that personal perception colours how we view life and I think this is really important to know. Believe me, deciding to view things in another light can be life-changing.
Overall, this was a great book and I enjoyed every chapter. I certainly recommend it to anyone, old or young.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.