Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Wonder by R. J Palacio



Title: Wonder
Author: R. J Palacio
Publisher: Corgi
Page Count: 315
Publication Date: January 1st 2012
Obtained: Purchased

Synopsis:

You can't blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don't make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don't get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he's being sent to a real school - and he's dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted - but can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever,
Wonder is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

What I Thought:

I actually quite enjoyed this book. It’s different from what I usually read and funnily enough I picked it up because of the cover. August is a 10 year old boy, who was born with a birth defect that has left him with a facial abnormality. He has been sheltered his whole life from the outside world and so, of course, has his reservations about going to a real school rather than being home schooled from the comfort of his home. It was interesting to see the way that he interacted with the other students but what was also interesting was to see how those same students reacted to his presence.

Palacio doesn’t sugar coat the fact that the way August looks often gets him unwanted attention. August uses self-deprecating humour as a way to break the ice and show people he doesn’t take himself too seriously. Throughout the book he makes friends, some who are good and some who disappoint, but Palacio tries to keep the story realistic. Most students warm to August and befriend him in some way but just like in real life there are some who refuse to be personable with him almost entirely because of how he looks. We get the opportunity to see the story progress whilst being told from different point of views. This let us see, for example, how August’s condition and his need for more parental attention effects his sister Via.

At times I found the way some characters spoke to be somewhat immature but I have to remember that it’s told mostly from the perspective of 10 year olds. I also would have like to have seen a chapter from the parent’s perspective because I felt that would have added another dimension to the story, something more serious. This may have taken away from the childlike ‘feel’ that the book has but at times I wanted something a bit more heart wrenching which is what I was expecting when I started reading the book. All in all, this is a good read and I would recommend it. I feel like it’s aimed at younger readers (tweens) but all ages would enjoy it.

Rating: 4/5

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