Wonder by R J Palacio
What an awesome book – in fact, I would call it ‘Cool Beans’ (you’ll get that once you read the book).
This is a young adults book but I find quite often that many of these titles cross all genres and this book is one that I would encourage everyone, of any age or nationality to read it. All too often humans are judgemental and kids can be cruel, crueller than anything else I think. It’s tough being a human but even tougher being a kid – especially when you have anything about your person that makes you a little different.
In August’s case, it is more than a little different. He is treated like an outcast, a freak due to a genetic whoopsie that caused him to have quite a serious facial disfigurement. I don’t think people know how to handle such things. We tend to stare or look quickly and look away – thinking the person with the disfigurement won’t have noticed. They will have, they will just be pretending, because no doubt it’s easier that way. If we didn’t whisper about such things maybe it wouldn’t be such a shocking thing to some people. Maybe if we were more open and honest….and excepting then these things would be easier for everyone.
In the meantime we could all gain a lot from reading Wonder. It follows August through his first attempt at going to a ‘normal’ school. It shows all the trials, the highs, the lows, the many lows of him just trying to be himself and fit in. How because he looks different this is enough to get him written off. But he’s not written off in a way to make him forgotten about or unnoticeable – his classmates still notice him and it’s never normally very nice. Even some of the parents are shameful, and even though this is a work of fiction you know those characters are out there.
There is a beautiful message that runs through the book about not judging people by what they look like and seeing beyond, to see the inner beauty. Although this book is sad, it will break your heart at times, it is ultimately uplifting and heart warming and gives you hope.
August is just a normal boy who has an extraordinary face, he is just trying to fit in and live his life and show that he is a kid just like all the others at school. One person is brave enough to go against the flow and approach August with friendship rather than cruel words. Would you be brave enough?
‘Be kinder than is necessary.’
Read this book – pass it on to your children….children, pass it on to your parents.