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Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Wonder of Wonder

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to school- until now. He's about to start fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and it's hard enough being the new kid when you're ordinary- let alone when you have an extraordinary face. Can Auggie convince his classmates to get past his appearance and give him a chance?

I received a copy of this book from Random House a while ago, but not knowing anything about it, I put it on my shelf to read sometime, figuring that with all of the reading I had to do over the next several months, I'd get to it one of these days. Then, all of a sudden I started hearing things about this book. Two different colleagues/friends whose opinions I greatly respect told me that this was a book I had to read. Then I started hearing about it on Twitter, and I just couldn't resist any longer.

The book is so beautifully written, and there are moments of total heartbreak and absolute joy. You will not find another character like Auggie. He knows what he looks like, and he knows how people perceive him. In his short life, he's become a master at recognizing that flicker of shock that registers on a person's face when they first see him, and he knows when adults put on the "too shiny" smile that means they are trying to disguise what they are thinking. Imagine what it felt like as a teen when you had that huge red zit on your nose, and amplify that by 100. Then you might be able to comprehend how Auggie feels when people looks at him. As wise as he's been forced to become, Auggie is still a vulnerable little boy, and the way that people behave towards him reveals a lot about human nature both good and bad.

When his parents introduce the idea of school, Auggie is terrified. He knows that his appearance will make things difficult, and a big part of him wants to stay shielded from the world.  Kids can be extremely kind, and extremely cruel, and Auggie experiences both throughout the school year. Julian is one of the cruel, but as Auggie explains to his mother,  he only acts that way when adults aren't around.

Through the multiple voices in the novel, readers gain deeper insight into the person that everybody else sees.  Auggie's sister Via (short for Olivia) has always been his biggest champion, but now that she's in high school, she's carrying a lot of her own baggage, and just once wants the right to be selfish and think about herself first. Jack and Summer are the first kids to actually accept Auggie, but all friendships have their bumps in the road, and part of Auggie's growth is learning how to accept that people make mistakes, and find a way to get past it.

Every so often, a book comes along that is so unique and special that you just can't wait to share it with everybody you know. This is one of those gems, and I'll tell you right now- you will fall in love.  this is a one-of-a-kind book that you'll remember long after you've turned the last page, and want to start reading again immediately. A warning though:  don't read this without a box of Kleenex nearby. I got about halfway through before I started bawling (and on the subway no less) and I never quite recovered.

3 comments:

Alex said...

Great review. I can't wait to read this as soon as I get a chance.

Rachel Seigel said...

You'll love it! Just be prepared to cry! :-)

Fairday Morrow said...

What a fabulous review! We just reviewed Wonder on our blog today. I agree with you that it is a story that will stay with you for a long time. I think about Auggie and the other characters at least once a day. I especially like your last paragraph. Great review of an amazing book!
~Jess

http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/2012/05/i-wonder-what-you-would-do.html?showComment=1335978686101#c149882191868681103

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