And I’m actually wondering why I didn’t read it sooner! This book had been quietly sitting on my office table for a year, and if it wasn’t for this reading challenge that I’m challenging myself with, I still wouldn’t have touched it. Maybe because I thought I was too old for a middle-school story. Maybe because I thought I wouldn’t relate much with the main character. And surprise, I was so wrong.
“Wonder” by R.J. Palacio is about a 10 year-old boy named August who was born with facial deformities. After years of being homeschooled, his parents enrolled him in fifth grade, in a normal school, with normal students, with normal faces. At first he was freaked out with the idea, but then when his parents brought him to the school for a tour, he decided that he wanted to go. He thought he was used to all the attention his face had attracted his entire life. It didn’t take long for August to realize that middle school was not as easy as he thought it would be.
My Rating: 5 inspiring stars
An absolute tearjerker. I love how brave and honest August is about his feelings, and he is actually blessed to have a family who is very proud of him, and loves him deeply despite of who or what other people think he is. I liked how the author told the story in different point of views, letting the reader know not just Auggie’s thoughts, but also what the people around him are thinking, how they are feeling, and what they are going through. This is why though the story is focused on August, you can’t help but relate to and love all those other characters as well.
For me, the most important message of this story is that most of the time, people are not who they appear to be on the outside. A happy face may be trying to hide a hurting heart. There can be a lot of weakness hiding beneath a tough facade. And an ugly face (in the world’s standards) can hide a very beautiful heart. Everyone needs someone who would see beyond what is visible, and say they understand, and that they’re with us, no matter what.
We may not be like Auggie who was born with physical deformities, but there will always be parts of ourselves that we often wish we don’t have. Sometimes we let our insecurities get the best of us, paralyzing us into seclusion. We’re afraid to try new things, because we feel we’re not capable. We choose to hide instead of fight, because losing is just too frightening for us.
What I learned from this book is that we have to be an August. Not perfect, yes, but a fighter.
My favorite quotes:
“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”
“You don’t need your eyes to love, right? You just feel it inside you.”
“I want you to know that you have me looking out for you.”
“The things we do are the most important things of all. They are more important than what we say or what we look like. The things we do outlast our mortality.”