Wonder is an inspiring, heartwarming and brilliant book written by R. J. Palacio, which chronicles the school year of a 10-year old boy, August Pullman.
August or Auggie, as he is called, has a genetic disorder called mandibulofacial dysostosis, commonly known as Treacher Collins Syndrome. He has extreme facial deformities which need a series of surgeries but still do not make him look ‘normal’. By the time the novel begins, he has had 27 surgeries.
Auggie shifts from being homeschooled to entering a traditional school as a fifth-grade student. Entering a new school and environment can be a trying time for most children. For Auggie, it is more severe, since he not only faces ridicule and scandalized reactions but is also treated like he has an infectious disease.
However, some children can look beyond the shocking exterior to see the gentle and intelligent boy beneath. The school authorities also try to make his entry into school as comfortable as possible.
Auggie’s daily trials, his interactions with his family and friends, the emotional trauma he undergoes and his eventual triumph are outlined beautifully in the book.
In addition to Auggie, the novel presents the viewpoint of each and every child wonderfully involved in his life. These include his sister, Olivia (or Via for short), her boyfriend Justin, Via’s childhood friend Miranda and Auggie’s friends, Jack and Summer. Each child’s emotions are finely etched to show how being in Auggie’s life influences their thinking too and makes them better human beings.
Through it all, Auggie, along with his loving family and friends, tries to overcome the negativity that surrounds him to be viewed as ‘just another student’ of the school. His personality also blossoms over the course of the book. Though he is initially a shy young boy whose low self-esteem compels him to hide from others, he gradually learns to stand up for himself and his friends too. His improved social skills result in children who feared him earlier also being drawn to him.
The gentle yet powerful portrayal of Auggie acts as a beacon of hope for every child who does not seem to ‘fit’ into the school environment. Last though not the least, the overwhelming message of the book is to not judge a book by its cover (pun intended)! Essentially, it also advises us to be kind. The author stresses, “When a choice is to be made between being right and being kind, choose to be kind.”
So go ahead and pick this book up on your next trip to the library and enter Auggie’s universe!
Wonder is an inspiring, heartwarming and brilliant book written by R. J. Palacio, which chronicles the school year of a 10-year old boy, August Pullman. He has a genetic disorder called mandibulofacial dysostosis, commonly known as Treacher Collins Syndrome. He has extreme facial deformities that need a series of surgeries but still does not make him look ‘normal’. Auggie’s emotional trauma is outlined beautifully in the book. How does Auggie cope with all of his struggles?
- Easy and lucid read
- Funny and engaging language
- Heartwarming presentation of brutal facts
- Looks the situation from each character’s perspective
- Encourages us to empathize with others
- There are quite a few unnecessary details
- The writing style is not very descriptive
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