3 May 2012

Review: Wonder by R.J. Palico

Title: Wonder
Author: R.J. Palico
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Published:  February 14th 2012
Source: Hardcover (library)
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Summary: "Wonder" is the funny, sweet and incredibly moving story of Auggie Pullman. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, this shy, bright ten-year-old has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the stares and cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, Auggie is being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. 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, underneath it all? Through the voices of Auggie, his big sister Via, and his new friends Jack and Summer, "Wonder" follows Auggie's journey through his first year at Beecher Prep. Frank, powerful, warm and often heart-breaking, "Wonder" is a book you'll read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

Review:  Finished this book in 2 sittings. It is an amazing book that really made you reflect on yourself as a person. How many times have you walked past someone who looks different and stared out of curiosity, or recoiled when he/she touches you? It is only human to react this way to something that is different but have we considered looking past what we see and getting to know the person behind it?

One thing that really stood out for me were all the quotable goodness in this book. Every few pages, something jumps up at me and I had to pause and internalise what I read because it just felt so important for to to understand and remember it. This book was a self-help book disguised as a novel and the overall message was to be kind and to be understanding.

What I really really liked about this book was the different voices used to show us the different perspectives of the children involved in Auggie's life. I could really connect to how each of them thought of the situations and there was a distinct voice that each of them had. Also, the language and the childishness of the conversations made Auggie so real. He sounded like a 10 year old boy and I even found myself reminiscing those days as a child when they made silly jokes and had fun together. I found Justin's chapter redundant though and the lack of capitalisation and punctuation really irked me. (This knocked half a star off.) Some people mentioned that the kids sound too mature and understanding for their age. I beg to differ, many a times kids just don't voice out all of their thoughts and they tend to act differently from their thoughts. It doesn't mean that they are any less kind or understanding at the age of 10.

There was also a good balance between happy and sad events. It wasn't just a happy little book about how a boy who looked different was accepted by everyone. It was a book about how a boy struggled and how his friends and family had to cope with what strangers did. And eventually people recognised that there is more to him then just his face.

"Shall we make a new rule of life...always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary."

My rating:

Recommended for everyone!


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