R. J. Palacio
MR. BROWNE’S SEPTEMBER PRECEPT: WHEN GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN BEING RIGHT OR BEING KIND, CHOOSE KIND.
Fellow readers have been recommending Wonder for me for years, I didn’t understand why a kid with birth deformities–meh how powerful or impressive could this story be? Let me tell you, after reading Wonder it has earned every award. Wonder is on Time’s Best 100 YA List but should be your next read.
I have to warn you if you decide to read Wonder you will cry. August’s life is not easy, children are not kind to him, and right when you think things can’t get worse for him, they do. If you are brave enough to watch, there is a movie.
Wonder is told from the following characters:
August- The Main Character
- For me, Halloween is the best holiday in the world. It even beats Christmas. I get to dress up in a costume. I get to wear a mask. I get to go around like every other kid with a mask and nobody thinks I look weird. Nobody takes a second look. Nobody notices me. Nobody knows me.
Olivia- August’s Sister
- August is the Sun. Me and Mom and Dad are planets orbiting the Sun. The rest of our family and friends are asteroids and comets floating around the planets orbiting the Sun. The only celestial body that doesn’t orbit August the Sun is Daisy the dog, and that’s only because to her little doggy eyes, August’s face doesn’t look very different from any other human’s face. To Daisy, all our faces look alike, as flat and pale as the moon. I’m used to the way this universe works. I’ve never minded it because it’s all I’ve ever known.
Jack- August’s Friend
- Fourthly, now that I know him, I would say I actually do want to be friends with August. At first, I admit it, I was only friendly to him because Mr. Tushman asked me to be especially nice and all that. But now I would choose to hang out with him. He laughs at all my jokes. And I kind of feel like I can tell August anything. Like he’s a good friend.
Justin- Olivia’s Boyfriend
- olivia reminds me of a bird sometimes, how her feathers get all ruffled when she’s mad. and when she’s fragile like this, she’s a little lost bird looking for its nest. so i give her my wing to hide under.
Miranda- Olivia’s Ex-Best Friend
- She wasn’t serious like Via. She was fun. She thought it was cool when I dyed my hair pink. She wanted to hear all about those trips through the woods late at night.
Each character adds an extra kick to the gut and story. It is known I do not like books told from multiple perspectives, but complexity the different viewpoints add to Wonder is fantastic. I found myself wanting to hear from everyone! The shift between characters can be summed up in no better way than: walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
August Pullman was born with extremely rare birth deformities that have been improved by many surgeries but still left him looking different from the average person.
For all of August’s life, he has been homeschooled and in and out of hospitals. After serious thought, his family encourages him to attend his first year of middle school at a local private school. August is hesitant but gives it a shot. I cringed thinking about how mean middle schooler can be.
As August’s father says, he is a lamb to slaughter. August faces the typical rudeness of middle school, and then some as his classmates and their parents struggle to accept him. He is ignored, bullied, and chased through the wood but also loved and accepted by many. The friends August makes go to show no matter how hateful the world can be, the smallest acts of kindness can change everything.
Regardless of how heartbreakingly sad Wonder is, it is lovely all at the same time! I cannot recommend Wonder enough to all readers. Middle schoolers and above will laugh and cry as August struggles through his first year of middle school. If you are looking for your next book to read grab a copy of Wonder.
There is a follow-up book called The Julian Chapter, I have not read it but have it on hold with my library. I cannot wait for it to become available. Beyond The Julian Chapter, there are a few other books in the Wonder Universe. I linked the titles to the Goodreads pages so you can check them out if you are interested. I do not think I will read them, but who knows.
Have you read Wonder? Do you want to? Have you seen the movie?
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