Book Review: Wonder by RJ Palacio
Wonder is simply wonderful.
The kid read this book in his fifth-grade class. He disliked reading, so when he recommended this one so enthusiastically to me, I knew it had to be a good one.
Auggie is a fifth-grade boy with a craniofacial difference. The difference is profound enough that it invites stares, bullying, fear, and ridicule. Plus a host of medical procedures.
He’s lived a protected existence thus far in the loving embrace of his family. But fifth grade is the perfect opportunity to join the outside world, a prospect as exciting as it is frightening.
We see Auggie’s story from several viewpoints, including those of his friends and sister. The remarkable thing RJ Palacio does here is establish human aspects for each character. There is no true villain here. Even the school bully has his own troubling backstory.
Let’s be clear. Kids can be cruel. And they certainly are in this book.
But the author gives the characters room to make mistakes and the grace to let them circle back and correct them. I wish this type of turnaround happened all the time in real life. Until then, I can get lost in the pages of Wonder and restore my faith in people doing the right thing.
The book is touching, truly. I’d rate this a solid three-hanky read.
Wonder by RJ Palacio
Published February 2012
Parents and teachers can find a number of resources (and an excellently-designed website, for those of you into UX) at wonderthebook.com.