Monday, January 5, 2015

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! This is a fantastically brilliant, heartwarming, and beautifully uplifting little book! It is an amazing story told with empathy and humor.
10 year old Augie Pullman, born with a terrible facial abnormality, won't describe what he looks like but says, "Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse." Previously homeschooled, this narrative is about his being mainstreamed into 5th grade at a middle school. It is described in short chapters by 6 different narrators: his older sister, 2 of her friends, 2 of his classmates, & himself.

Palacio, the author, does a skillful job giving each of the narrators a very honest and distinctive voice. They all sound sincere & real. It makes you feel like you really are taking this journey right alongside Auggie as you are given a glimpse into all their lives. The characters are complicated. No one, not even Auggie, is all good or all bad. The situations are realistic, from the bullying in the halls of Beecher Prep to the small family dramas in the Pullman home.

The multiple perspectives also allow the reader to know more than any one character does, even (especially) Auggie. As Mr. Tushman, the school principal, points out, "there are almost always more than two sides to every story."

This is an awesome book about a kid who is truly a Wonder. At times heartbreaking & at times triumphant, it is a story of how one person can make a difference. Despite the expected sadness in Wonder, there is also much humor, joy and hope. Kids and adults alike will love this stellar debut by a first time author. If you haven't read it yet, I think you should - it's worth all five stars and even more.

Favorite Quotes:
“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

“My mom smiled at me. Her smile kind of hugged me.”

“Kinder than is necessary. Because it's not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.”

“It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.”

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