Author: R.J. Palacio
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Source: borrowed from a friend
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
In the past, I've often heard people describe various books as "tearjerkers". And when I heard that, I would usually laugh, because I am not much of a cryer when it comes to my reading selections. I generally reserve my tears for two things: personal issues, and videos of soldiers coming home and surprising their unsuspecting kids in school assemblies. (RIGHT?!?!?) But cry while reading a book? NEVER!
Guess what? Wonder is a tearjerker, y'all!
Wonder starts out from the perspective of our protagonist, Auggie, and it's hard not to love him from page one. Having lived with a horrible facial deformity for his entire life, he is wise beyond his years (with an uncanny ability to interpret the world around him), but also harbors all of the insecurities and fears that you'd expect from a ten-year-old, let alone one who deals with being ridiculed on a daily basis. I wanted to give him ALL THE HUGS by about page five. His parents are pretty great too--you quickly see how lucky Auggie is to have such loving, funny, and protective parents.
However, I got even more enjoyment out of the chapters that were told from the perspective of his sister and several of his classmates. The foundation of this novel is laid when you see how Auggie views himself--but that perspective becomes much richer when you understand how others see Auggie. He and his classmates are at such a difficult age--the start of middle school is full of popularity contests, everyone is making or breaking a reputation, and trying to figure out if their inner image matches their outer image. These challenges are made even tougher when ten-year-olds are faced with a classmate like Auggie. Is it more important to be "cool" or to be friendly? And is being friendly the same as being a friend? (And does that matter to the person you're being friendly to?)
It's also interesting (and at times, sad) to see how the kids are influenced by their parents--not every parent is going to encourage their child to take the higher road, unfortunately. This book was obviously written with young adults as the target audience, but as a parent, I also took a lot away from this in terms of the lessons I'd like to teach my kids about accepting and helping others.
And yes, I confess. I cried. During the last few pages. (cue Usher)
It was worth the tears. I hate it when this term is overused, but I think it's appropriate here: Wonder is going to hit you in the feels.
Wonder is the first book that my MOMS Club book club is reading together! Any advice for us as we convene for the first time next week?? And of course...if you've read Wonder, what did you think?