R.J. Palacio | Fiction
“I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.”
I am a little late getting on the Wonder bandwagon (thank you to Mary's book club for putting this book on their reading list!) Wonder is a warm and delightful read. Yes, it is a teen book, but, as with many juvenile books, it certainly has a message for adults. The message I received from reading this first novel by R.J. Palacio, is to remember to be kind. “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” (Wayne Dyer.)
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a genetic craniofacial deformity that prevented him from attending a mainstream school, until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, his first foray into a real school. Auggie is just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face.
This book touches on diversity, acceptance, appearance, kindness, love, and bullying. While I truly enjoyed the chapters written from Auggie’s perspective, his sister Via’s section talks about what it is like to have a sibling who is the center of family attention and worry. And the Julian section – the last section – blew me away. Julian is the bully who never really accepts Auggie. His story is rather amazing. The marketing on this book quips, “You can never tell a book by its cover,” a reference to the heart and soul that Auggie presents beneath his deformed face. But that is also true about Julian, Via, and others. I guess it is true for all of us.
My favorite quote is Auggie’s favorite: “Everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives because we all overcometh the world.” (August Pullman)
There is a lot of buzz about this book online. The author has started this anti-bullying website: http://choosekind.tumblr.com/, and if you poke around, you will find many other activities, including how schools are integrating this book into their curriculum.
What a marvelous first novel for Palacio!