Wonder by R.J. Palacio - Book Review


Wonder by R.J. Palacio - Book Review

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

A book that’s both heartbreaking and heartwarming, “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio tells the beautiful and moving story of August (Auggie) Pullman, who’s been homeschooled by his mother until he’s about to start 5th grade.

Auggie was born with severe facial deformities that remain significantly visible despite the countless surgeries he has undergone.

We follow Auggie’s journey as he attends school, for the first time, ever through the eyes of several characters: two of Auggie’s school friends, his sister, her boyfriend, and her ex-best friend.

The shifting narrative together with Palacio’s perfect balance of humor and sorrow enhances the story greatly, making every character both flawed and sympathetic, while giving each one an equally credible and distinct voice.

I was particularly impressed with the raw honesty of his sister's side of the story. Growing up with Auggie wasn't easy for her; she truly loved her brother, but she craved her parents’ attention, as well, and felt that her needs always came second to his, which sends her in an emotional turmoil of resentment and guilt.

This is a risky perspective to introduce, since the reader’s sympathy will automatically be directed at Auggie. However, Palacio voiced all the characters’ feelings honestly and smoothly, that it becomes impossible for you to be anything but understanding of where they’re each coming from, despite their shortcomings. 

Auggie's unfiltered perspective was also brutally honest; he was well aware of how others viewed him, but no amount of awareness and compassion can make a child immune to the stares and cruel words, which ultimately makes his story even more inspiring.

The different viewpoints provide a thorough narration of Auggie's experiences and the simple and straightforward writing style will pull you to each character as if they’re talking directly to you. Plus, the short chapters make “Wonder” a quick and easy read for bookworms of all ages.

This book will take you on an emotional rollercoaster, one that rings with refreshing authenticity and painful truth. It’s a feel-good book that teaches us empathy and reminds us of the power of being kind. For all these reasons and more, Palacio’s Wonder makes a worthy addition to any shelf.

Book Details

Title: Wonder
Format: Paperback
Author: R.J. Palacio
Language : English
Publisher : Corgi Children's
ISBN: 0552565970

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Updated 3 years ago