wonder – r j palacio


I picked this up after seeing a 5-star review by someone in my Goodreads news feed. I had never heard of it, but of course, while I was reading it, I have seen it everywhere.

This the tale of August. August is an ordinary ten year old boy. He is just about to start middle-school. He likes playing XBox, is addicted to Star Wars, loves his dog and his family. His family are extremely close – mum, dad and older sister Via.

But starting middle school is far bigger for him than you’d expect. August make feel that he is ordinary, but the rest of the world sees him very different.

August is severely facially deformed.

The book is split into sections, each with the voice of a different narrator (although August picks up the story a few times throughout) – August, a couple of other kids at school with him, his sister, her boyfriend and her friend. Each of the narrators had a very recognisable voice, and the stories over-lapped, so you saw many scenes from two different points of view.

As I first started reading, I was concerned that the book was going to cross over into the very obvious schmulzy mush. There were moments that made me cringe a little (eg. the way that August’s parents spoke and acted was a little vomit-inducing) but once I reached the end and reflected on it all, it kind of made sense. The strength of August’s family was probably what made him able to deal with some of the harder moments that he had to go through. Almost all of the other kids who came into contact with the family wanted to be part of it. Begging the question, is it better to be deformed but happy and well-loved than ‘normal’ and dysfuntional?

I really enjoyed the book, and read it in hardly any time at all – halfway through I also gave it to Scabigail to read too…so I will be very interested to see what her thoughts are, as a child not much older at an all-girl’s school, at a stage where appearances and ‘fitting in’ are becoming ever more important.

I loved reading about August’s first year of middle school – it will be interesting to see if this is made into a film…I am sure absolutely everyone reading it has been building a mental picture of his face (although in ‘his’ words “Whatever you are imagining, it’s worse!”).


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