Review: Wonder by R.J.Palacio

Posted June 7, 2014

Review: Wonder by R.J.Palacio Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Genres: Middle Grade, YA
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Goodreads

You can't blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

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?

 

You know when a book is on your radar, as in you are vaguely aware it exists. You would recognise the cover but really you have no idea what it’s about? Well that’s how I was with Wonder. I knew people were loving it, but that’s about as far as my knowledge of the book went.

Then Kirsty started telling me about this amazing book she was reading to her class. Yeup you’ve guessed it, Wonder. Every time I spoke to her this book was mentioned and so I started to think maybe I should be getting in on this! So I bought the book. However I was still deep in my A Song of Ice and Fire re-read and, as I’ve said before, nothing else got a look in for a while.

Then hubby started reading the book. He flew through it, said it was amazing and that I HAD to read it. Well I’ve not long finished it and I have to say it was well worth the hype!

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

The quote above should give you an idea of what this book is about. August is just a normal kid, except his face is deformed. Until now he has been home schooled but his supportive family have persuaded him to start mainstream school. Basically we follow August’s story through his first year at mainstream school.

I really like the way this story is told. The majority of the chapters are written from August’s point of view but there are other chapters in there from characters such as his sister and a boy at school. I think this helps to create a well-rounded story. We see how people close to August feel about his condition, not just how Auggie himself feels.

As you can imagine August has a challenging time when he starts mainstream school. We all know how cruel kids can be. This book not only opens our eyes to bullying but it highlights how it feels to be different too. It’s a really powerful story and as I read it I kept thinking back to my own school days. I thought about those kids that were a bit different and I started to realise how they felt. Auggie represents so many children, and adults, who face a daily struggle for acceptance. There’s a very strong message in this book, you can’t read this book and not be affected.

I was bullied in primary school. It was all rather pathetic to be honest when I look back. None the less it has shaped who I am today. I didn’t ever tell anyone, I just got on with it. I wish I had read something like Wonder at the time. Something to put my woes into perspective. Something to make me realise that a) I wasn’t alone and b) really things could have been much, much worse.

I find myself really grateful to Kirsty for reading this to her class. I feel like it will have sown a seed and made them think. Hopefully it will have helped them to empathise with others and to realise how their actions affect people around them.

I think this is a book that everyone should read, young and old. It’s very easy to read, very engaging and you will find yourself turning page after page losing track of time. It’s said that we should try to walk a mile in the shoes of others. Reading this is maybe like walking a metre, but it’s a powerful metre. It’s a metre that everyone should walk!

We just wanted to share this book with you.

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