Book Review – Wonder by R.J. Palacio
April 3, 2015
August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside.
But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.
Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?
Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.
So, this is yet another book that I was late to the game on reading. I’ve heard the reviews, it stared longingly at me from the library shelves, friends harassed me about reading it. Was it worth it after all that hype? Absolutely. I may not have loved it quite as much as some others, but it is a good, strong read that you will enjoy!
- I love that Palacio tackles a difficult issue head on with such a good balance between compassion and reality. You will learn a great deal about the struggles of living with obvious physical defects, both in a physical sense as well as in a practical and emotional sense.
- The novel makes you really think about how you personally encounter those with disabilities of any type, and if you are handling it in the best way possible.
- The author includes a great list of resources at the end, including resources for dealing with bullying.
- The characters are so easy to connect with. They are all humans with real feelings that are acknowledged, but they learn and they grow, and it is a rewarding journey to watch.
- I love the “precepts” that one of the teachers utilizes, and I love that they are included in an appendix in the back of the book. These quotes are poignant and make you think about a host of different facets of your life.
- I love the writing for a middle grade book. Palacio is able to achieve beautiful images even though she’s not using complicated, hard-to-understand vocabulary. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes:
“…no, no, it’s not all random, if it really was all random, the universe would abandon us completely, and the universe doesn’t. it takes care of its most fragile creatures in ways we can’t see…maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end. the universe takes care of all its birds.”
” You don’t need your eyes to love, right? You just feel it inside you.”
- I had a version of the book that included “The Julian Chapter”. I’ll admit that I wasn’t a huge fan. I feel like it detracted from the original ending of the book. The reality of life is that there are some mean people out there, regardless of the reason, and some people will just never be nice people. It didn’t flow with the rest of the novel, and in some ways it took away from it. Skip the chapter if you have the choice.
What are your thoughts on Wonder? Are there any similar books that you would recommend to others?