Monday, July 28, 2014

A Review of 'Wonder' by R.J. Palacio

"August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school-- until now.  He's about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be.  The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face.  But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?"

This book was recommended to me by the fifth grade teacher I volunteered for this spring.  She said that I couldn't read it in a reading group because the kids probably couldn't handle it, but I should read it just the same.  I had heard a lot of good things about this book before reading it.

I didn't care for August as a character very much.  I hated the fact that his parents babied him so much.  I understand that they want to protect their youngest child who looks different than the other kids look, but this kid is ten or eleven-years-old.  He's going to school for the first time and it's going to be scary, but I feel like they are willing to let him quit way to soon (if he wants to).  I'm not a parent, but I have issues with giving your child the option to quit right out of the starting gate.  If non-home school is really not working for him, that's one thing, but if August knows that he has the option to return to home schooling before he even starts, is he really going to give regular school a chance?  I'm not so sure, despite what is written in the book.

The "supporting" characters were much more interesting to me.  Vi and Jack Will were a couple of my favorites.  Jack is the one who is the first to befriend August.  It's really easy to follow the crowd and go against what is considered right.  There are few people who treated August with any kind of respect.  Yet Jack did.  Well, mostly.  And when he screwed up, he treated August like a person, apologized and realized his mistake.  He realizes that he likes being friends with August and so makes up with him.  He's an example for the rest of the class.  Vi is very much in the background of the story, so I'm really happy that she has a chapter all to herself.  August has a lot of needs and requires so much attention that Vi is often put on the backburner.  Her parents love her, of course, but Vi is definitely forced to grow up a little more while her parents handle her brother's needs.  It's not a good feeling to have to yield to a sibling all the time, as much as you love them.  Despite the fact that she's often in the background, she's so supportive of her brother.  She loves him very much and doesn't complain when her parents need to shift the attention to August.

This book is good if you like books about how young people handle sensitive and difficult situations.

I give 'Wonder':
Thanks for Reading!


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