[REVIEW] Wonder – R. J. Palacio

I have had this book on my shelves for a while and felt it to be the perfect read for ZukyBookBum’s book club theme for June (MOVIE NIGHT)! I have not yet seen the film so I was keen to read this title prior to any exposure to the movie.

Wonder – R. J. Palacio
Format – Paperback (315 Pages)
Publisher – Corgi Books
Release Date – 28th August 2014

The book follows August (Auggie) as he goes to school for the first time. The first day of school can be daunting for any child, but Auggie has the added challenge of having a disfigured face since birth. We begin to see how this feature impacts on Auggies, his family and his peers throughout what could be considered everyday childhood events.

Auggie was an extremely likable young boy that I warmed to straight away. Having had a defect from birth you cannot help but feel empathy towards him as he tries to lead a normal ife with great difficulty. I enjoyed reading from his point of view as we can all relate to that self-conscious feeling, but yet found it impossible to comprehend this on such a scale that Auggie experiences.

Different parts of the book were narrated by different characters ranging from Auggie’s family to various peers of whom he has a close bond with. This made it incredibley heartwarming to see how Auggie’s features affected not only him, but also those around him. Naturally there are some reactions that people cannoy conceal, but different parts of the book delved into each characters true beliefs, thoughts and challenges.

Each part was written with slightly different vocab, grammar and structure which then reflected some of the chracters personality and you truly got the feel that you were in another characters shoes. However I would have found it interesting to read from the parents or teachers point of view. However, in hindsight, perhaps the teachings of this book are more powerful when it comes from the minds and words of younger characters.

Each chapter was no longer that a couple of pages which made it very easy to continue reading and telling myself “just a few more pages”. Due to this I raced through the book far quicker than I had expected to.

I think Wonder does a brilliant job of portraying not only how cruel children can be, but also how caring and loyal others are. This restored my belief that there can be good people in this world, however it simply demonstrated that we must model this to today’s society in order for children to learn these values. I consider this book to be an excellent way to teach young people some very important values and that perhaps it will make us think twice about how we react to those we may label as different.

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I think this book can be very powerful when read by the right audience. It is extremely sensitiv to children’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours, although the events were stereotypical of a child’s school life. I was close to giving this five stars, however I just didn’t quite have that ‘WOW’ moment. So it was a four star review from me on Goodreads, but an extremely enjoyable review. I will soon be watching the film to see how it compares. (If it’s anything like the book, I have a feeling I will be balling my eyes out!)

Have you read this book? If so, let me know what you thought in the comments or get in touch on Instagram (@gntx) and Twitter (@gntx).

Synopsis:
I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. 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, despite appearances?

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To buy a copy of Wonder – R. J. Palacio and to see what other readers have said, head over to Amazon and Goodreads.

To get in touch with the author, use @RJPalacio on socials to find her!

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