Book Review of Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Wonder is one of those books that can be for both an adult and a child (and I think indeed it should be read both by adults and children (over 8’s though as parts are a bit brutal! ) Any mother who has a child who is ever stared at for being different will read this book and nod in recognition.
I picked this book up because I read this review
This book will make you cry without being soppy, teach you without being preachy and make you laugh without inhibition.
I also thought the cover was extremely powerful.
Wonder has been a publishing sensation and in December it will become a film. It is a debut novel exquisitely written.
Wonder is the story of a funny, bright, self-aware little boy called Auggie Pullman who has until now been home schooled by his protective and wary mother. Auggie has a severe facial disfigurement that massively impacts how people treat him. The book tells the story of his journey into school.
Whilst this book is fiction it resonates with truth. I worked for many years at a wonderful place in Annandale, Minnesota at a camp for people with learning and physical disabilities. Many of our participants did not look ‘ordinary’ some drooled like Auggie, some had disfigured faces or bodies like he did and many, manyof our camp participants endured lives of stares and being pointed at. Many of them had a few stalwart friends and amazing families. Some had been abandoned to care homes. The cruelty and kindness of the people I encountered whilst working with these campers fair took my breath away. Being born looking different is extremely tough.
Being a mum to a child who needs so much extra from you leaves you spent, can sideline your other children, consume you with worry, make it hard to let them grow up. The mother in Wonder is portrayed so well and the birth story is both horrific, deeply sad and filled with a midwife that warms your heart. The father too – a wonderful, funny man and their arguments over Auggie are all about loving him and how best to do this. Auggie encounters mean kids who tease and bully him, assault and make up cruel games about him having the plague. Auggie meets Jack and Summer beautiful, kind strong souls. I felt positive, devastated and uplifted after reading this book. It shows all humanity here.
Auggie is a bit mardy, selfish occasionally, he is also brave, star wars obsessed and very funny. In this book he grows up, starts to think of others a little more and leave his families protection a little. The book is told largely form August’s view but his sister, her boyfriend’s and his pals get to tell some of their story too. None are black and white and they all struggle to different degrees with their association with Auggie.
I cannot rate this book highly enough. It has some powerful lessons . Most of all it is about the need to be that extra bit kind because it can make all the difference and a precept that had stuck in my head…If there is a choice between being right and being kind choose kind.
I feel very moved and still consumed by what I have read. I highly recommend this book. It is a wonder and so well written. I could not put it down.