Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

August Pullman was born with a rare life-threatening condition that makes his face appear deformed.  After a life time of surgery, August is now a lovable fifth grade boy.  Now that it’s time for fifth grade, his parents have decided he should go to a real school for the first time in his life.  

A bright and funny boy, August joins his new school and is quickly shunned.  There are bright spots at school as a couple of kids get to know August and become his friends.  As the year proceeds there are highs and lows.  What does it mean to be kind?  Can middle school kids find it within them to be kind and accept someone who is different?

I really enjoyed this book.  My husband and boys read it for the library youth book club last year, but I didn’t read it at that time.  I did read it this year for the February selection of the Rogue Book Club (aka FLICKS Book and Movie club).  We had a lightly attended book club meeting last week, but myself and the one other person that read the book both really enjoyed it.  The book touched me as it really hit on a lot of great points and made me think about how I treat people now and how I treated people in the past.

I read about the author after I finished the book and she talked about how she wrote the book after she saw a child with a similar condition and rushed out of the situation, so her kids wouldn’t say anything to hurt the child.  And she thought – how would that make the child feel?  It made me realize I have done that as well as I don’t want my kids to make comments about someone different, when I should probably face the situation head on.  She also had an interesting interview where she said she would have been Charlotte in the book while she was growing up.  Nice, but wouldn’t have been brave enough to be Auggie’s friend.  I was similar.

My 12-year-old son Kile said his favorite scene was when the fifth grade went camping and Auggie really got to see the true colors of his class.  I agreed that it was my favorite as well. Kile’s sixth-grade class went to see the movie this year.  I would like to see it as well!  

I’ll admit I was jarred at first when the book switched from Auggie’s point of view to his sister’s and then on to other characters, but I got used to it and liked seeing how others perceived the same situation.

Favorite quotes:

“I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid.  I mean, sure, I do ordinary things.  I eat ice cream.  I ride my bike.  I play ball.  I have an Xbox.  Stuff like that makes me ordinary.  I guess.  And I feel ordinary.  Inside.  But I know ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds.  I know ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.”

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”

“The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they’ve died.  They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs.  Only instead of being made out of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you.  That’s why your deeds are like your monument.  Built with memories instead of with stone.”

“I wish every day could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time.  Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.”

“Jack, sometimes you don’t have to be mean to hurt someone to hurt someone.  You understand?”

“Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.”

“It’s so weird how that can be, how you could have a night that’s the worst in your life, but to everybody else it’s just an ordinary night.”

“There are always going to be jerks in the world, Auggie.  But I really believe, and Daddy really believers, that there are more good people on this earth than bad people, and the good people watch out for each other and take care of each other.”

“If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than necessary – the world really would be a better place.”

Overall, Wonder is a special book that really explores kindness and how we can all make the world a better place to live in.  I recommend it to all kids and adults!

Book Source:  I purchased it while out Christmas shopping . . . and I can’t remember where!


  1. I haven't read this, but I saw the movie recently. It's very touching. Excellent review, Laura!

  2. Thank-you! I really need to see the movie!