When a friend recommended Wonder, first thing I asked was “Is it a happy book?” And she said “It’s sad at places but I loved reading it.”
Since I respect this friend a lot and value her opinion I picked this book, despite not having heard of it until her recommendation….. And I’m so glad I did.
Once in a while you come across a book that touches your soul and changes the way you think and behave. Wonder is exactly that kind of book. It’s a story of a 10 year old August Pullman who has rarest of rare genetic disorder which makes him look very different from others. People call him alien, freak and several other mean names. It is the story of his supportive family, his first year of going to a proper school, his journey of making friends, dealing with some enemies and facing the world bravely. It is also the story of his sister and friends and how they see him.
Yes, the story is sad at places because the world is not always a beautiful place and each one of us is shallow at some point or other, children sometimes say the meanest of things and as Mr. Tushman says in the book “sometimes you don’t have to mean to hurt someone to hurt someone”, sometimes people hurt the unfortunate Auggie without really thinking about it. Actually I shouldn’t call him unfortunate because Auggie is anything but. He’s spunky, smart, funny, courageous and unlike many of us ‘normal’ people he can laugh at himself.
Wonder is a very honest book. The emotions, feelings and incidents that the author R.J. Palacio has written about are as real as they can be. Her writing is original and insightful, its funny and light yet deep and poignant. Its simply written yet touches your heart. The love and concern Auggie’s mother has for him is so understandable, you know it can’t be any other way. His father’s understated affection and humor warms your heart. The relationship between Auggie and elder sister Via is endearing and very believable. Via’s feelings are realistic and make her human. Summer and Jack are delightful in their typical 5th grader ways. Julian is…. well, he’s realistic too.
Palacio has done a brilliant job in writing about the struggles of parents wanting to stop coddling their son, teenage friends going through the tough high school phase, middle-schoolers stuck between being popular or being nice, and August wanting to live a normal life yet knowing how difficult it is with a face like his. All characters are so beautifully etched that you feel like pulling them out of the book and giving them a hug!
My mom smiled at me. Her smile kind of hugged me.
I especially liked how Palacio has written about Auggie’s life and feelings without making you feel a tinge of pity for him. No where you feel sorry for Auggie and his family. He may have a different life than others but he certainly doesn’t drown himself in misery.
I also liked how the author has used different narrators throughout, it helps give different perspectives. When the story began with August as narrator I could only think about him, his challenges, his feelings but when Palacio wrote from Olivia’s point of view it was like a bulb suddenly went off in my head. I was so blinded by August’s life that I would never ever have thought about how it affected Olivia had the author not brought it up. In life also we often consider only one point of view (ours) and see things in singular perspective. If only we have someone to give us unbiased opinion from time to time in real life too, we’ll save ourselves many misunderstandings and hurt feelings.
I feel everyone should read this book because the lesson at the core of Wonder – kindness, is a virtue the world can use more of.
Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed
I loved every moment of reading the book. It made me chuckle and sometimes brought a warm smile, it made me feel a little sad and sometimes it made me angry, I felt happy so often and so often it made me cry. The end is especially good, words were blurring as I read Mr. Tushman’s speech and the account of what followed. I felt a tingle in my nose and there was a constriction in my throat but it was a happy feeling, truly heart warming. It is a Wonder-ful book, one that taught me a thing or two about parenting and life in general, a book I would talk about to a lot of people and urge them to read it, a book I would want to re-read and would want my children to read too when they are old enough.
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