Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder - R.J. Palacio

This was a lovely novel, a level of complexity that I didn’t expect woven throughout when portions of it were narrated by those also affected by Auggie’s illness.


This book is aimed at middle-graders. The protagonist, Auggie, a ten year-old boy, was born with a facial deformity which has a grave effect on his life. At the beginning of the book Auggie is rather solitary, being that he is home-schooled. Shortly after we meet him his parents make the decision to send him to public school. Initially Auggie is understandably against this decision, but he slowly accepts it and begins at Beecher Prep school where he encounters much ostracism and negativity from his peers.


The book is written in a very simplistic way, but this is exactly what, conversely, gives it its depth and sincerity. From a rational standpoint it wouldn’t have made much sense for a book whose protagonist is ten to have been anything but.


It’s impossible not to admire Auggie for his strength and resilience. He weathers much hardship not only from his peers but in his life outside school, such as the numerous operations he’s had or the reactions to him from the public. I did find that some distance was created between Auggie and the reader because he seldom related his feelings in a direct manner. He was very much of the ‘stiff-upper-lip’ variety. While this was truly admirable, it made it that much harder for the reader to get close to him.


What elevated this book from a three star read to three-and-a-half was that chapters were narrated by people affected by Auggie, such as his sister and friend. This gave an entirely different perspective that changed the entire outline of the book. I was very impressed with how the author got into the minds of all concerned so convincingly.


A fantastic read that handles a weighty topic with simplicity and one I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending.