by R. J. Palacio
I’ve seen Wonder in the library for ages and the cover always caught my eye. However, I wasn’t compelled to read it because of my huge piles of books at home. But when the librarian said, “you have to read it” and my brother also said it was good, I decided to add it to my pile. I’m happy I did (my usual refrain, I know). I loved Wonder. It was beautiful, moving and inspiring. I loved the characters, the tone throughout the book, and mostly I loved the message.
Wonder is about a fifth grade boy, August, who was born with a grossly deformed face. For his whole life he’s had surgery after surgery and has been homeschooled. Now he’s at the point where the surgeries have died down and his parents think it’s a good idea for him to get out more and choose going to school as the best way to do so. At first August is apprehensive, but after visiting the school and meeting a few students who aren’t repulsed by him, he accepts it and starts to enjoy. Things are very difficult though, from bullying to betrayal to constant guarded looks and whispers (spoilers: Julian is a nasty bully starting the game, “plague” which says that anyone who touches August needs to wash their hands immediately so they don’t get the plague, and Jack Will befriends him, but then admits that he did it only for show). There are high points as well from his sister’s love and parents’ encouragement, to making true friends, to gaining respect from those around him (spoilers: his true friends are Summer who liked him from the start, Jack Will who realizes he genuinely likes August not just because he was asked to, and eventually the school as a whole who rally around him after he gets bullied by older kids). At the very end, the principle is speaking at the fifth grade graduation and quotes J. M. Barrie’s book The Little White Bird saying, “Shall we make a new rule of life . . . always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary.” I love this quote and it sums up the message of the book, which I adore. I am inspired to be kinder than is necessary after reading this beautiful book. And I hope that you are too.
Summing it up: I simply loved this book and I highly recommend it.
All the best, Abbey