Monday, 20 June 2016

Wonder / R.J. Palacio / Review

Spoiler free -

Hello! My first post of my summer is going to be a positive one; Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Around the year 2012, Palacio rewarded us all with the release of this book. It exploded all over social media as a book that everyone must read, and I can now say that I agree. 
Wonder would never be a book that I would be drawn to. Firstly because it doesn't have fairies fighting or star-crossed lovers or demons. Secondly because I usually read books that allow me to escape from the world that I have issues with everyday, and I had a feeling this book would hold all those issues. 

August Pullman is a 10 year old boy who was born with a disease that resulted in him having a deformed face. The book follows quick-witted August on his first year at school after being home-schooled by his mother all his life. Everything to August is a brand new experience; learning, friends, and unfortunately, bullies. Therefore, I was very nervous and sceptical when going into this book, worried that it'd make me really depressed and hateful toward the universe. But I was proven wrong.

The majority of the book is written in the perspective of August. This may be off-putting (I hadn't realised how young he was before I picked up the book), but August is a very intelligent, intuitive and humorous 10 year old and reading his thoughts and opinions made it impossible for the reader not to fall in love with him and care for him so deeply. I think Palacio made August so bright and fascinating so that the readers can see him as being special on a deeper level, emphasising the importance of personality and the message of the book. 

The book is also written in the perspective of many other people; August's friends, his sister and even his sister's friends to present how August and his life affects everybody and show the significance of one young boy. I particularly enjoyed the alterations Palacio made to the writing in each individual's point of view. However, I did find it super frustrating when one character had a chapter with no capital letters...none. AH! The variety of perspectives really made the book feel more real and again emphasised the message of the book. Palacia wrote this book in order for people to be kind, be considerate and understanding of other people's feelings. Therefore, for me, the range of characters that the reader gets to experience amplified this as we truly understood each characters decisions and actions on a personal level.

This book tells the story of life. Specifically the story of one boy's year. Consequently this book doesn't have a complex story line, or an important plot point. But I don't really think that this is necessary as the author managed to create ordinary events become extraordinary through the eyes of an extraordinary individual, August; who manages to stay positive and unbroken through whatever is thrown at him. I think that's what makes this book so special and inspirational. R. J. Palacio manages to write a story that's so simplistic and normal to emphasise that although August's face is deformed, he is still a normal boy. She also manages to present August as such a special individual who manages to influence so many people with his charming and kind personality. 

I think that this is a book that you should read, no matter your age, gender, or genre preferences. This book is not one that I would ever pick up but now that I have I don't regret it and will be more optimistic towards similar books in the future. My favourite quote from the book (though is quoted in the book from another book!) is

"...try to be a little kinder than is necessary"

I believe that this book will inspire those who read it and if everyone reads it, the world may become a happier place...

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