Earlier this year, my blogging circle was going gaga over this book – Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I trust the recommendations of most of these bloggers and often pick up books based on their suggestion. This time, however, I thought ‘Wonder’ would be way too serious and emotional- to say the least. I also thought it would have a sad ending and hence wasn’t ready for it. I did end up buying the book but it stayed on my bookshelf all these months. So, I decided to take the book with me to Kerala, because God knows how I will miss reading even amidst my sister’s wedding preparations.
All I remember is when I started reading ‘Wonder’ and since then there was no looking back. I finished the book in a couple of hours and was an emotional wreck. It connected with me on so many levels and boy, was I wrong about it being a children’s book.
I can’t do justice writing a book review for this one, but I will try to bring out the different aspects of the book that made this one of the best reads of this year for me.
All I remember is when I started reading ‘Wonder’ and since then there was no looking back. I finished the book in a couple of hours and was an emotional wreck. It connected with me on so many levels and boy, was I wrong about it being a children’s book. . 🐶August Pullman is a ten year old boy born with a craniofacial disorder, a rare genetic disease. He has undergone many surgeries in his short span of life and has been homeschooled by his Mom all these years. Now he has to go to Beecher Prep for his fifth grade. How will he interact with the teachers and students when he knows that the very sight of him makes them scream? . . 🐶Wonder teaches you about family bonding. Written in different POVs, my favorite was reading the account of Olivia, August’s sister. Her account is brutally honest and though she loves her brother dearly, she still craves for her parents’ attention. . . 🐶Wonder teaches you about friendship. It shows that not all relationships are rosy at all point of time. There will be ups and downs and it is about how we choose to move forward. . . 🐶Mr. Tushman’s Speech about being kinder than necessary. . . 🐶Auggie! He is a regular normal kid who loves his Xbox and Star Wars. He is funny and full of life. August is also shy and reserved and wishes everyday was Halloween so that he can wear a mask, be a normal kid and let everyone treat him like one. He wants others to see him for who he really is. Auggie is truly a wonder and hats off to his bravery, strength of character and kindness. . . 🐶Do I recommend? I think everyone-be it a child, teenager or parent should read this book. . . Shining 5 stars on 5. 🖇️Detailed review on blog. Link on bio. . . . #MuffyRNair #MuffyTales #MufasatheGoldenRetriever 🐕 . . #bookstagram #books #bibiliophile #bookish #book #fiction #readersofig #reading #iamreading #amreading #reading #readingchallenge #currentread #bookstagrammer #bookstagramfeatrure #bookstagramindia #booksofinstagram #indianbookstagram #goldenretriever #petsofinstagram #doggosofindia #wonder #thursday #petsofinstagram #story #bookblogger #tale #mail #instagood
My name is August.
I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
This is what you’d read at first when you pick this book. August Pullman is a ten-year-old boy born with a craniofacial disorder, a rare genetic disease. He lives with his parents and sister Olivia. He has undergone many surgeries in his short span of life and has been homeschooled by his mom all these years. Despite the many surgeries, August (Auggie) still lives with significant facial deformities. And now he has to go to Beecher Prep for his fifth grade. How will he interact with teachers and students when the very first sight of him makes kids scream? August isn’t welcoming the idea of going to a mainstream school but he understands it is for his best.
His worst fears come true as he finds all the students glaring at him and whispering behind his back. The kid Julian is brutally hostile. However, Auggie makes a couple of friends, Jack and Summer and begins to enjoy school. But, alas!
Wonder by R.J. Palacio: Book Review
“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” – Francis Bacon
Wonder is such a book where you need to read it with diligence. So, what’s so special about it?
It teaches you about family bonding.
My heart went out to Auggie’s parents- Nate and Isabel Pullman. I absolutely loved the way they handled Auggie – patient, calm and of course, full of fun and life. They treat it like a normal, loving family with bedtime stories and goodnight kisses.
The book is written in different POV’s, with Auggie’s being the most significant. But my favorite was reading about Olivia – Auggie’s teenage sister. Her account is brutally honest and she lets us get a peek into her life where her needs and wants are always second to Auggie’s. Growing up, she has learned not to complain and that their parents are overly protective of Auggie. Though she loves her little brother dearly, a sense of jealousy and resentment upsets her. She doesn’t want to be known as Auggie’s sister. Can’t blame her now, can you? She is just a normal kid where she craves for her parents’ attention.
Daisy is the rescue dog who Auggie loves dearly. He never had to worry about her judging him because of his face. She is always there to comfort and also plays a big part in holding the family close. Even after her sad demise(sorry for the spoiler), Auggie believes she is always with him.
It teaches you about friendship.
The book Wonder showcases the true essence of friendship. In a school full of bullies(in Auggie’s perspective), he befriends Jack and Summer.
But any friendship is prone to misunderstandings and relationships aren’t all rosy all the time. There will be ups and downs and it is about how we choose to move forward.
Do not judge a book by its cover.
No, I’m not talking about Auggie here but of Miranda. She is Via’s close friend and treats Auggie like her own little brother. Her parents are going through a divorce and she is in awe of Via’s loving family. During the summer camp, in order to gain popularity, Miranda lies about having a brother like Auggie. She later feels ashamed of her lies and is unable to meet Via’s eyes. She cuts off her ties with the Pullmans. Via feels betrayed and immediately jumps to a conclusion.
Isn’t this how we all react? It’s easy to form opinions, judge and disconnect yourself from a friend who behaves strangely when all he/she needs is a helping hand or a little ray of hope and sunshine.
Mr. Browne, August’s English teacher lists a precept every month. All of these are significant in everyday lives. He also asks his students to send him a postcard during the school holidays with a precept which they have formed or found relatable. I absolutely loved these inspiring words.
Mr. Tushman’s Speech
I was teary-eyed by the time I started reading Mr.Tushman, the Middle School Director’s speech. And by the end of it, I was an emotional wreck. ‘Be kinder than necessary‘, he says. ‘Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.’ Mr. Tushman and the school has not met a kid like Auggie before. He taught them the meaning of kindness and how a simple deed can go a long way.
Auggie is shy and reserved. He secretly wishes every day to be Halloween so that he can put on a mask, be a regular normal kid and let others treat him like one and see him for who he really is. But he is also funny and full of life. He loves his Xbox and StarWars. He believes in himself and accepts for who he is. And as his mom says, he is truly a wonder. Hats off to his bravery, the strength of character and kindness.
I really need to quote the entire book but I’m trying my best to consolidate here:
“Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.”
“Sometimes you don’t have to be mean to hurt someone.”
“You don’t need your eyes to love, right? You just feel it inside you. That’s how it is in heaven. It’s just love, and no one forgets who they love.”
“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”
“If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, wherever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary—the world really would be a better place.”
“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”
“It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.”
Do I Recommend?
I think everyone – be it a child, teenager, or parent should read this book. It’s an easy read and having multiple POVs actually help in understanding the characters better.
Shining 5 on 5!
|Details of the Book|
|Title: Wonder||Publisher: RHUK|
|Author: R.J.Palacio||ISBN: 978-0552565974|
|Genre: Fiction/ Children, Young Adult||No: of Pages: 320|
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Manas Mukul says
This is such an amazing review. If someone hasn’t read the book, your review really motivates one too.
I have known you as a blogger for a very long time now and I must take this opportunity to compliment you that you have really grown as a reviewer and your writing has improved. Special mention to the effort you put in each of your reviews, the layout, everything.
Congratulations. Keep the good work going and do teach a little bit of the same to me as well.
Note: This is not a paid compliment 😀
I absolutely love the book, and the movie too. Have you watched it?
I was an emotional wreck both the times. But this book gives out such a brilliant message and makes one so humble and grateful for what they have in lives. Definitely a must read!
Wonderful review! The quotes you picked, the themes you’ve highlighted…well done!
Dipika Singh says
This is a detailed review out here, I am looking forward to reading this book going by your words.
Such stories fill up with hopes, with so much negativity around something good and positive is always a happy space. Thank you for sharing the review with us.
Shilpa Garg says
I loved reading this book though it has a special place in my heart. Agree with your review completely and it is a MUST read for all… young as well as adults. There is so much one can learn and ponder on from this book. I must check out the movie too. The Favourite Lines that you have picked refreshed the story once again for me. 🙂
Jhilmil Bhansali says
I love the fact that it teaches the family values and bonding. Reviving these values over reading is the most rejuvenating aspect. Loved reading this review
i haven’t read this yet.But I have seen the book reccomendation really work. Would pick it up sometime.
It is a very detailed review! Thanks for it. After reading this post, feeling so much excited to grab it. In the favorite lines section, the last there are just WOW… real and true.
You haven’t left me with a choice not to buy it immediately . This is such a detailed review buddy.
Parul Thakur says
Like you, I have been meaning to read this book for a very long time. Glad you got a chance. I will surely read it this year. Loved your post and not the usual book review kind of content. 🙂 Those quotes where beautiful and so relevant.
Shilpa Gupte says
I got emotional reading the quotes you have shared, Shalini. I have been so eager to read this book! Will remember to pick it up soon. Thanks so much and hugs to Muffy!
Pratikshya Mishra says
I have already heard and read so much about this book, it feels as if I have already read it. Want to watch the movie too.
Misha jain says
“sometimes you don’t have to be mean to hurt someone”
Took my heart away
I think I ll order this one soon
Ashvini Naik says
I feel so touched just by your review, Shalini.
I’m sure I’m going to buy this book. The quotes mentioned make me more sentimental, what can I say. Sigh.
Sanch @ Sanch Writes says
It was a delightful read. We read it for our book club last year and then went and watched the movie together. Movie was great too! 🙂
Ramya Abhinand says
i loved this book and in this case, the movie too. It was real, relatable and enjoyable too…