Due to the lame cover, slightly depressing description, and goofy title, One-In-A-Million Boy kept moving off and on my to read list. Finally I decided to give it a try and found it to be charming. My favorite part of the novel was the boy, who was the true hero of the story. His zest for life coupled with his maturity beyond his years made him a quirky and engaging protagonist. It seemed natural for the boy to easily befriend Ona, a reclusive woman who was 103.
There were three aspects to this book. The first, focused on the scenes between Ona and the boy. I watched as his youthful innocence won her over. These interactions were just priceless. He was so excited that he might be able to get her into the Guinness Book of World Records, his new fixation, that his enthusiasm was contagious. Suddenly, Ona found herself actually wanting to live two more decades so she could break an existing world record. I wish there had been more of these encounters, but they came to a quick halt since he died early on in the book.
Secondly, at the boy’s request, Ona agreed to be recorded as she answered his questions about her life. Although this was a one way conversation that only had Ona answering the questions, it provided the background to Ona’s life and a glimpse into the relationship between her and the boy. It also showcased the boy’s charm and naivety, which were endearing traits. Ona’s personality and the hardships she had endured were revealed through her responses and made her a sympathetic character that I wanted to be changed by the boy’s hope for her.
The third segment of the novel began when his dad, Quinn went to Ona’s home to finish the work the boy undertook as part of his quest for a boy scout merit badge. As Quinn slowly established a relationship with Ona he learned about his son and regretted not being around more for him as a father. There was a lot of focus on Quinn’s quest to become a famous musician, which gave the background for why he had walked out on the boy. Despite the necessity of this story, it just didn’t interest me. I think mostly, because Quinn was such a weak character.
The novel ended with positive impacts the boy had on everyone’s life. I thought this had a good message and was put together well.