Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Wonder by R.J. Palacio… A Review

   "The only reason I'm not ordinary is that no one else sees me that way."
                                                                                                                            Auggie Pullman

Fifth grade is hard. Bullying, growing pains, cooties, homeroom, recess. Today I'm your friend, tomorrow could be different, who do you sit with in lunchroom? But fifth grade can also be wonderful. Friendships, secrets, electricity from potatoes.

Auggie Pullman was different, but only because he looked different. His face was horribly deformed (he suffers from craniofacial abnormality), but he was a normal kid otherwise, with feelings and insecurities and a sense of the world around him. The book, Wonder by R.J. Palacio is about Auggie and the year he went into fifth grade. That year was the first year he ever attended public school because his life up until then was filled with surgeries and sickness. It was time for him to face the realities of fifth grade… and dealing with kids who don't know him or have never seen a kid like him before.

This book was wonderful. But why? That's hard to put into words, but I'll try… Wonder is about the inherent good in all of us. That we're human with flaws and we make mistakes, but we can learn from our mistakes and become better people.

The story centers around Auggie, but then there are parts told from the perspective of other characters in the story… from Auggie's older sister, Via, who loves her little brother dearly, but is also suffering with the pangs of growing up herself,  Auggie's best friend, Summer, his friend, Jack, Auggie's sister's friend, Miranda, who grew up with Auggie and is just like a sister to him, and finally Justin, Via's new boyfriend. We find out what they're thinking and how they try to deal with all the pressure's of adolescence while sharing some part of Auggie's life. It is so interesting to read the other kid's perspectives! The writing is great! These kids are real! They're problems are normal, and how they deal with them is inspiring.

The eBook I downloaded had the incredible "bonus" chapter of Julian's perspective. Who is Julian?! Well Julian is the bully. You'll really dislike him… until you read his take on the whole thing, and then by the end of his story (and it is a wonderful story! With a wonderful subplot involving WWII, the Nazi's and saving a little Jewish girl)… ok, I'm not giving away any more! Read this book! It's YA, (Young Adult) but we can all be inspired to "choose kind". (You'll understand when you READ the book!)


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