Book Review: Wonder, by R.J. Palacio (2nd Time Around)
Genre: Children's fiction
Date Published: February 2012
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Length: 313 pages or 8 hours and 6 minutes on audiobook
Goodreads | Shelfari | Audible
Synopsis: August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school--until now. He's about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?
★★★★★ and a ♥!
...because it made me laugh, cry, and want to hug Auggie Pullman (even though he's completely fictional).
Okay this was a re-read, I admit it. Literally the 4th book I've re-read this month. But I needed to read a book that contained a character whose name was Jack for a reading challenge (do you have any idea how hard that was to find?! ....Or am I just really bad at finding this kind of stuff?).I confess, however, that I really wanted to read this book again. Let's face it, a favorite can't be fully declared a favorite unless it can survive a re-read, right?
This book definitely survived the second round! It's a wonderful story of courage and acceptance. Sure, it's probably not as realistic as what would actually happen, but hey, it's a children's story meant for children! I'm just an adult who likes heartwarming stories that make me sob hysterically. :)
As regular people going about our daily lives, we seem to forget that our actions (as well as our reactions) to things can inadvertently hurt someone else. Wonder reminds us of that, and then reminds us to be "kinder than necessary". It's a beautiful message, and I love the fact that this a children's book that our next generation is meant to read. What happens in Wonder may not actually happen in real life, but it's good to hope that it could, and it's even better to hope that our kids will read this story and make them want to be "kinder than necessary".
There's one particular part in the story that always gets me, and, strangely enough, it has nothing to do with Auggie's facial abnormalities. It's the part involving the dog Daisy (if you've read this story, you know exactly what part I'm talking about. If you haven't, then read it and you'll see what I mean). Both times that I've reached this part, I started crying like a baby and I just couldn't stop. It's something that I think many adults have experienced at least once in their lifetime and it hit really close to home for me. That point in the story needed a catalyst, I get that, but, oh! It really brought up a lot of painful memories for me. If this part was taken out of the story, then the whole book wouldn't have worked quite so well, and I would have given it a lower rating.
In my opinion, if a story can make you cry (even when you re-read it), then the author did a good job. If a book can manipulate your emotions and make you want more, then it's well written with a brilliantly crafted plot. If a story can make you think that maybe, just maybe, we should interact with other people just a little differently, with kindness that is more than necessary, then this story is something worth reading and passing on to other people.
If you like heartfelt tales that give a powerful message, then you should read this story. If you have any children, you must have them read this! This books deserves a standing ovation, so sit back and enjoy!