Title: The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (La Mécanique du cœur)
Autor: Mathias Malzieu
Genre: Fantasy, romance, fiction.
Price: $11.05 USD at Amazon and Barnes&Noble
Translator: Sarah Adrizzone
Year of publishing: 2011
Since I saw the cover of this book it caught my attention, it reminded me of “The Nightmare before Christmas” and “Corpse Bride” movies by Tim Burton, also the plot seemed interesting.
This book tells the story of Jack, a boy that is born in the coldest night, because of that he is born with a frozen heart. To survive Dr. Madeleine places a cuckoo clock in his chest, but to keep living jack must follow 3 rules: don’t touch the hands of the cuckoo-clock heart, master his anger, and never, ever fall in love. After his birth Jack’s mom abandons him, and madeleine raises him, overprotecting him. On his tenth birthday they finally go out to the city and Jack listens the beautiful voice of a street performer girl, Miss Acacia, and falls in love with her. That’s when his adventures begin, he must confront his own weak heart, and he must fight for the love of Miss Acacia against Joe.
The story begins with a magical and fantastic feeling that involves you completely and makes you feel empathy for the protagonist. Since the beginning I liked Jack, a poor soul that suffers for love and decides to go after it despite knowing it’s not good for his heart, something that shows an interesting character development. At first he is shy, quiet and reprises himself a lot because of his condition, and then he decides to fight for his love. Jack matures in that aspect during the book.
Despite I liked jack, I can’t say the same of his love, Miss Acacia. There was something in her that I didn’t like at all; I felt she was too self-centered and kind of egoistic. I never understood why he loved her so much.
There are other important characters in the book, but to me they didn’t stand out. The most important are Madeleine, the doctor that took care of Jack. Madeleine’s friends/patients, they helped jack when he needed. Méliès, yes, the famous filmmaker, he meets Jack in his journey and joins him helping him with his cuckoo-clock, and giving him love advice. And the last one is Joe, the nemesis of jack; he is in love with Miss Acacia and hates Jack because he knows Jack loves her too.
As I said before, the book starts with this magic feeling, but it gradually fades out, I thinks that is because the book is in Jack’s point of view, and he matures and changes his way of thinking.
I didn’t notice it, but it seems there are some time inconsistences along the book, there are things that shouldn’t exist yet in that time… but I don’t think that’s too important, it’s a fantasy book after all.
The finale was not surprising, it was kind of predictable because of Miss Acacia’s personality, thou I didn’t like it at all I think it was ok.
In 2014 a movie adaptation was released, it’s a musical 3D animated film; the music was composed by the book’s author, Mathias Malzieu, who is also the voice actor of Jack in the French version.
It’s a really short book, you can read it in few hours, but don’t let its length and cover fool you, it’s not a children’s book (I thought so). It’s a light reading, short but entertaining. If you want to read something light, with romance and a bit of fantasy, I recommend it :)
Have you read it? Tell me your opinion in the comments ^^