February 26, 2012

Wonder - review

Wonder
author:  RJ Palacio
publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
published:  February 2012
source: Netgalley

Wonder is a great creative story of a ten-year-old boy named August who was born with severe facial deformities.  He needed many surgeries and has been home-schooled.  Now it is time to start Middle School.  Should he be mainstreamed?   His parents disagree. 

How severe are his facial deformities?  Auggie says:  “I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”  He becomes expert in knowing the exact milli-second a person notices him in the room, even when the person attempts to cover up the shock at seeing such a face.  We get several clues in mid-point of the book as to what he looks like. 

Auggie ends up entering fifth grade.   His favorite holiday is Halloween, because then he can wear a mask and no one knows who he is.  But something happens on this Halloween Day ....

At first, I thought the whole book would be the P.O.V. (point of view) of this ten-year-old.    I was pleased to come to Part Two, and find out the author switched to his older sister's voice.  Via is starting high school and has problems of her own, including squabbling with her mom.   Palacio did a great job writing differently for these two siblings.    The other Parts include additional characters in the book.   In sum, this is one of the most excellent books that give different P.O.V.'s in assorted styles of writing.

Natalie Merchant's song Wonder has this chorus:
They say I must be one of the wonders
Of god's own creation
And as far as they can see they can offer
No explanation 

The author RJ Palacio stated in an interview about seeing  a girl with facial deformities and being ashamed of her own reaction.  She was afraid her younger son would say something rude so she rushed out of the ice-cream shop.   This scene is in her book.   On the way home, she heard Merchant's song, thus the idea for Wonder was born.

Wonder is geared toward middle schoolers, but will appeal to YAs and adults too.  It should be nominated for and even win the Newbery Award. 

1 comment:

Beth S. said...

I just finished this book today and loved it! The characters will stay with me for a long time.