Book #39: Wonder

I’ve noticed Wonder by R. J. Palacio popping up on the “school reading list” table at the bookstore and it intrigued me. I like keeping an eye on those lists because the books that make required reading got there because they are usually worth reading. The story is about August “Auggie” who has some medical issues that left his face looking very different. He has always been homeschooled because he’s had so many surgeries and recovery periods, but now he is about to start fifth grade at a traditional school. Palacio writes the story from several perspectives – Auggie, his sister, classmates, and friends – displaying the struggles children experience to fit in and make friends. It is a sweet story pointing out that people are people, even if they look different, and it’s important to treat everyone with kindness. I can certainly see why this book is being taught in schools, lauded by parents and teachers. The only thing I wasn’t a fan of was that every chapter is written in the first person, and these ten-year-olds talk like ten-year-olds (And I was like, “Yeah…” and he was like “Dude!”) and one chapter even loses capitalization and punctuation for no reason I could figure out. (Harry Potter was eleven in the first book and talked like a normal person; but granted, maybe Rowling is a high standard to set.) I think it could’ve been written better, but the characters were still engaging and sympathetic. What I most appreciated about this book is that it displays through the varying points of view how everyone has difficulties they are dealing with, some on the outside, some on the inside. People’s actions are not always so easily explained and we should give them the benefit of the doubt. The theme of the book is to be kind to others. While it can seem a bit like a morality lesson, it has a sweet message.┬áIf I have kids, I certainly would want them to be kind to other children in this way, and for other children to be kind to them.

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