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.
Realistic fiction has never been something that has particularly latched onto my interests. And Middle Grade Fiction is a strict no no. I’ve always refused to read books that are dumbed down to make them seem suitable for children in Middle Grade.
But Wonder is Realistic Middle Grade Fiction—the first of its kind I’ve ever read—and I’m so glad I did. It’s a type of book that’s simultaneously humorous and saddening. It’s light but deals with an important issue. It’s about learning to always love yourself but not always liking yourself.
August (Auggie) Pullman has been homeschooled all his life. But now he’s going to fifth grade and going to school at Beecher Prep seems like a distinct possibility. Except, he doesn’t want to go because he knows that as soon as kids see his face, they’ll do what they’ve always done. They’ll scream and run away. They’ll call him names. And worst of all? They’ll stare at him like he’s some sort of disease.
I think the part that I loved most about Wonder is the simplicity of the book. The prose sounds (reads?) apt for Middle Grade and the situations in the book themselves are what a fifth grader would face but the content of the book and its message? Now that’s something adults need as much as you and me.
Yes, Wonder switches through six POVs. Yes, tenses keep changing and YES, there’s an entire chapter full of emails, text messages and Facebook notifications. Yes, sometimes the 10 year olds in the book sound like adults. But for me, all these things just made the book more special and unique.
August was one of my absolute favorite characters of all times. He’s 10 but he’s smart. Brilliant, really. Despite having a craniofacial abnormality, he’s pretty much chill about the way people react to him. His relationship with each of his family members—his parents, his sister and his dog—is outlined individually and you can just see how utterly normal this boy is. Sure, he has a handicapability that lets him stand out but really. Don’t we all have that one part of our lives in which we shine brighter than others?
August’s mother Isabel Pullman was my other favorite. She wasn’t the perfect mother, of course, and she did a lot of things that some of us may have done differently but the way she was with August? It was beautiful. Ad a definite tear-jerker. Summer Dawson (Auggie’s friend) was one other character that I really connected with. She was sweet and sensible and with more maturity than I’d expect from a fifth grader.
Like I said, this book isn’t only for children and tweens. It’s also for adults. It teaches a lot of things that, in the course of life, we tend to forget. This book is not only life affirming but also has the ability to make you feel grateful to every little thing you have that others do not.
“Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.”
“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”
“no, no, it’s not all random, if it really was all random, the universe would abandon us completely. and the universe doesn’t. it takes care of its most fragile creations in ways we can’t see. like with parents who adore you blindly. and a big sister who feels guilty for being human over you. and a little gravelly-voiced kid whose friends have left him over you. and even a pink-haired girl who carries your picture in her wallet. maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end. the universe takes care of all its birds.”
“MR. BROWNE’S SEPTEMBER PRECEPT:
WHEN GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN BEING
RIGHT OR BEING KIND, CHOOSE KIND.”