Book Review: Wonder, by R. J. Palacio

“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.” This quote from Wayne Dyer makes a lot of sense, but most people forget it. After all, if they’re right, why shouldn’t they say so, right? It makes a lot of difference, actually.

I recently read the book The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. In it, the author talks about the importance of what you ask and how you ask it. Similarly, there’s a difference between being right and being kind. Yes, you may be right and on the face of it, say something to a person, and end up hurting them. It doesn’t matter if you are right then, I feel. It is more so when the person you express it to is someone impressionable, like a child.

Wonder is the story of a child. August “Auggie” Pullman is a homeschooled fifth-grader living in Upper Manhattan. He has a medical condition, a facial birth defect that has led to many surgeries till the present day. Not wanting him to grow up afraid of the world, his parents enroll him to Beecher Middle School at the start of fifth grade. Having observed people’s reactions to his face before, Auggie is reluctant, but decides to give school a shot, his parents giving him the option to leave should he not feel comfortable.

It’s hard to adjust to some things, especially when we don’t know the reason behind it, or have been brought up in a way. Try as Auggie does, some of the children at school do not accept him, and even start to turn others against him. Can Auggie find his feet at Beecher, or will he be pushed to take the option his parents have left open?

This book is about so many things. It’s about friendship being much deeper than based on looks. It’s about being compassionate, and trying to find the person behind the skin. It’s about being brave, and trying to conquer fears, though the world around tries to push into a shell. It is fiction without trying to be overly positive, as it gives a peek of what the world does to try and antagonize too.

I loved reading this book. Yes, it’s a fiction, but it is true for someone out there. It was touching to read Auggie’s story, and feel his emotions as he took a big step; and a brave step at that. For taking that step, he needed a lot of support, and I loved how he had that with his parents. Through the story, we also see the courage of such parents too, and the sacrifices they have had to make to get their child to where they are. I loved reading Via’s view of things, and it felt true too. She doesn’t feel miffed or angry though, but understanding, kind, and a loving sister to Auggie. I liked Jack Will and Summer Dawson as well, the latter more than the former. The characters seem black and white, and not grey, but sometimes, that’s how things are. I don’t think we realize that grey till we grow up. Is the book engaging from start to finish? No. I didn’t like Justin’s part much, though it did add to the story for sure, and the end to that part was a happy one that made me smile.

Oh… I loved the cover art and the introductions to each point of view too. Would I read it again? Of course I would, without hesitation. It’s a “wonder”ful book, and I don’t see any reason not to.


A Score Of 9 Out Of 10
Book Details
Title: Wonder
Author(s): R. J. Palacio Genre: Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: 9780552565974 Publisher: Random House UK

No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.


(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
19th February 2018)

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