A must-read

A review of Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I could not put this book down--it was an engrossing, emotional rollercoaster ride.

Ten-year-old August (Auggie), is going to school for the very first time after being homeschooled by his mother. He is apprehensive about entering the 5th grade because of the way he looks. Auggie was born with severe facial deformities that have required extensive surgeries, but he still doesn’t look “normal.” At one point, Auggie says, “I won’t describe what I look like.  Whatever you are thinking, it’s probably worse.” Auggie knows that on the inside, he is like every other ten-year-old boy, but it is almost impossible to be one, because when people see him for the first time, they scream, or call him “freak,” or run away. People do not take the time to get to know Auggie, because he is so scary looking.

Wonder is told in many voices including that of Auggie, his sister, his sister’s boyfriend, and his friends, but never his parents. At times, Auggie’s life can be so difficult, but because of his incredible attitude and the fact that his family and friends love him like crazy, they help him get through the rough times. Wonder makes you think about how differently people are treated because they are physically unattractive.

Auggie’s favorite day of the year is Halloween. It is the only day of the year he can be just like every other kid and not be judged by what he looks like. I wish every day was Halloween for Auggie and people like him.


I also just finished reading Wonder, and while I enjoyed it, I couldn't help but think that the conclusion was a bit too rosy and some of the antagonists somewhat two-dimensional. But I still think that Palacio really hit one aspect of growing up right on the head--the sense a child has when they realize that their parents aren't going to be able to protect them from the world, and how they are going to cope. It's a lesson that not just Auggie learns, either. That alone makes it a worthwhile read.