Recently I finished Wonder, a 315 page realistic fiction book by R.J. Palacio. Palacio originally came up with the idea for Wonder when she took her son to get ice cream. At the ice cream stand, she noticed a boy with a facial deformation and walked away with her son so her son wouldn’t notice. She then realized that this moment along with Natalie Merchant’s song “Wonder” would make an excellent book and teach kids a valuable lesson.
Wonder is Palacio’s most famous book. She also wrote two spin-offs to Wonder called “365 days of precepts: Mr. Browne’s book of precepts” (January 2013) and two years later the book “Auggie and Me” came out. (August 2015) Wonder has won multiple awards including the Maine Student Book Award, Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award, Mark Twain Award, Hawaii’s Nene Award, and the Junior Young Reader’s Choice Award. It has been translated to over 40 languages and states on the inside of the cover “Wonder is truly that: A wonder.” The New York Times also had the book on it’s Best Seller’s list for more than 10 months. I enjoyed reading this book multiple times and also reading it to my siblings. My entire family has read this book and loved it. I chose this book because I haven’t read it in a while and I have always loved Wonder.
In the novel, Wonder August Pullman is a 10 year old boy living in North River Heights in Upper Manhattan. August or Auggie as most people call him, has a facial deformation known as Treacher-Collins Syndrome and also has a cleft palate. He has had many surgeries to attempt to fix his deformities and thus has been homeschooled his whole life by his mother. He has one older sister Olivia or Via for short. She has always loved him but sometimes feels left out due to her parents always giving full attention and time to Auggie. In the fall, his parents enroll him in Beecher Prep School, where he will begin middle school. He visits Beecher with his mother. Mr. Tushman, who is the principal, is there to greet him along with three students: Jack Will, Charlotte Cody and Julian Albans. On page 29 Julian says “So what’s the deal with your face? Were you in like a fire or something?” It’s kind of ironic because the whole time they were giving Auggie the tour, Julian was mean to him and Mr. Tushman was the one who suggested that Jack, Julian, and Charlotte should give the tour and he said that Julian was the nicest of all those kids. It’s also kind of funny because after the tour when Auggie is describing how the tour went, he tells her how Julian was mean and she says “So is Julian one of those kids who acts one way in front of adults but acts differently in front of children.” When August replies “yes” she nods to herself and says “Ah, hate those”.
I was surprised when on the first day of school, Summer Dawson immediately sat down next to him at lunch. It was the first day and everyone was staring at Auggie and all of a sudden Summer came over and sat with him. He noticed that she was sitting at a table with a bunch of girls who were staring at him. It was even more confusing because she wasn’t one if the welcome buddies on the first day yet she still sat with him because she was a genuinely nice person and felt bad that no one was sitting with him. It’s almost like the author was saying “This girl is a saint. She’s going to be important.”
This book had multiple signposts in it but the one I most frequently saw was Memory Moment. This book was split into 4 different characters points of view and almost every chapter in these parts started with a memory. On page 5 when Auggie is talking he says “I have 3 best friends. Christopher, Zachary and Alex. I’ll never forget the first day of preschool when I walked in and Chris came up to me and said “Hello, I’m Christopher Blake and I want to be your friend.” It was the best moment of my life. I could be overthinking this, but I think that the author was showing how people would always be afraid of Auggie (Julian) but then there would be some people who were nice and saw him for who he was and not just for the kid with a facial deformity. (Christopher, Summer, Jack)
FInally, I was interested in this passage, When Auggie has graduated Beecher Prep and is walking home with Summer, Jack and his family and his mom whispers in his ear “You really are a wonder, Auggie. You really are a wonder.”
I was interested in this passage because it represents that he was both a medical wonder, as Auggie’s parents were told he wasn’t going to survive the night of is birth, and is a wonder to his family and his friends because he went from being called a ‘‘freak’’ and having barely any friends to being the most well liked and most popular kid in the grade. I’m glad I re-read this book and I hope others liked it as well. I give this book a 10 out of 10.