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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Wonder by R J Palacio


'My name is August. I won't describe to you what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.' Ten-year-old August Pullman wants to be ordinary. He does ordinary things. He eats ice-cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside. But Auggie is far from ordinary. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, he has been home-schooled by his parents his entire life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, Auggie's parents are sending him to a real school. Can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, underneath it all? Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches, "Wonder" is a frank, funny, astonishingly moving debut to be read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.

Every now and then I read a book and when I sit down to review it I struggle with what to write - because the book is so good, I just don't know how to express just how good it really is. This, Wonder, is one such book - it is so beautifully written that everyone should read it.

Auggie, August Pullman, is a ten year old boy and likes the same things as other ten year olds. However, he has facial dis-figuration  which has left him needing lots of operations and has been home schooled, leading him to be isolated. Now his parents have made the difficult decision to let him attend the local school and the story is Auggie's journey to be accepted by his peers. 

The book is narrated by August and the narrative includes lots of fantastic child observations, things that only children would notice, or a child's interpretation of a situation. The chapters are very short and the book is a quick read. 

August is very observant and the narrative is humourous as well as believable. It shows August to be a very capable young boy, who has a great deal of obstacles in front of him, and has a very strong support network around him to aid him through life.  He has so much courage and a 'will do' outlook on life - something that children should take on board while reading this book.

My eleven year old daughter has also read this book and she also enjoyed the book as much as me. It made her think about how people are all different and how people treat people who are slightly different or have abnormalities or disfigurements and the effect it can have on the individual. 

I think this is a book that everyone should read - from 9+, both adult and children will find the book to be a great read. It is a powerful read which I hope will make people reconsider how they treat people in society and that they see the person behind the abnormality or disability.

Thank you to the publisher, Transworld Books, and The School Run Forum, for sending me the book to review.

1 comment:

  1. I sat with my 9 year old and we took turns reading a section aloud to each other.I thought it was a fantastic book, and it gave rise to some very deep conversations about how we treat others,especially those who are different from us. At times I choked a bit,particularly reading the parts told from his mother's point of view, but it didn't put me off. Would strongly recommend it to anyone..