Friday, 8 June 2012

Wonder, by R. J. Palacio

WonderHowever much praise I attempt to heap on this book is not going to be sufficient. It is - simply - wonderful.

August (Auggie for short) wants the same things that every other 10 year old wants: friends and the ability to run around and play freely. To be normal. But other people find him scary to look at. Born with a severe facial deformity, in and out of hospital for most of his life having reparative surgery, until now he has always been home-schooled, but his parents have decided: it’s time he went to proper school. This asks one very big question: how are his new classmates going to react to him?

Wonder is told from the perspective of a small handful of different characters, Auggie and his big sister included. Each and every one is funny and smart, real and brave, Auggie especially. The story has a good balance of ups and downs, and I think the different points of view lend to this admirably. One thing that really stood out was the adult responses to both Auggie and the events of this story. Tellingly, a certain group of adults were the ones mostly responsible for Auggie’s problems: their negative, ignorant attitudes, and how they chose to pass that on to their own children. I was incensed by the injustices directed at Auggie and overwhelmed by his spirit at dealing with them.

There is really not much else to say other than to urge everyone to read this one for themselves. It is so well-formed and well-executed I am left almost wordless. Absolutely one of the best books around at the moment, for children and adults alike.

(visit R. J. Palacio's website)

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