Wonder, by R. J. Palacio, is a story about a fifth grade boy named August Pullman (Auggie for short). Auggie has a craniofacial difference, which means he was born with a face that is different than most. He had to go through a whole bunch of surgeries to reconstruct his face, he had a breathing tube, and a tube in his stomach for eating. Auggie’s mom homeschooled him because he spent so much time in the hospital. Now Auggie is going to public school for the first time, and on top of that it is the beginning of Middle School. He’s worried about being made fun of because of his face. The author divides the book into eight sections, each told from a different perspective of someone whose life intertwines with Auggies. This helps us, as readers, find out how each character reacts to having August at Beecher Prep.
Auggie’s first weeks at school are a bit rough. When all the kids see him they quickly look down and then avoid eye contact. This makes him feel upset, but he’s used to it by now. As the year goes on Auggie makes some true friends (and enemies). Summer Dawson and Jack Will prove to be on his side from the start and they stand up for him with kindness. On the other hand, Julian, Henry, and Miles are rude from the complete start and bully Auggie through the whole school year. For example, Julian writes notes like “Yo Darth Hideous. You’re so ugly you should wear a mask every day.” He puts these in Auggie’s locker to make him feel bad about himself. Some of the nicknames that Auggie was called include: Ratboy, Freak, Monster, Freddy Krueger, E.T., Gross Out, Lizard Face, and Mutant.
As I read all the horrible things that were done to Auggie by his classmates, I felt terrible for Auggie. I even cried many times throughout the book because I couldn’t stand how his peers treated him. My heart was fractured. As sad as this is, I couldn’t put this book down because I wanted to see what happens next.
Mr. Browne, who is the English teacher, would write monthly precepts on the board. Precepts are small pieces of advice to remember throughout your whole life. For example, “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”
This stuck out to me because the author is trying to persuade the readers to be more kind in this world. I think that’s what this whole book is about.
Being kind is close to my heart because I, myself, am a peacemaker. I can’t stand it when people are rude. One of the first things I was taught was to be kind, and you will make a difference in the world. I’ve learned that it is easy to be kind. Last year I stuck up for a classmate that was being picked on, multiple times. I volunteered to make valentines and May Day baskets for elders. I helped raise money for a kid who needs a bone marrow transplant. When I help others it warms my heart, but more importantly it shows other people that somebody cares. That’s what this book is all about, showing kindness to those who need it.
I love the character of Auggie and all that he’s taught me. I recommend this book to those readers that are looking for a heartwarming story. This is a book that you will remember for your whole life.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012. Buy the book here.
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