Wonder by R.J. PalacioChisholm Catholic College Library > Book Reviews > Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The book Wonder places the reader in a classic American town, where childhood is idyllic with children freely playing in the streets of the neighborhood and a school within walking distance. It is in this setting that we are introduced to the main character, August, a 10-year-old boy with a rare condition that makes his life all about regular hospital visits and being home-schooled. August’s rare condition has meant he rarely ventures outside; when he does August wears a helmet that covers his face. The reason being, August’s medical condition has left his face severely scarred and the children on his street are afraid of his appearance. Once August turned 10 his life living in the shadows changed when his parents decided to send him to Beecher Prep, a local school. It is here August learns how cruel the world can be when his peers start to talk about him behind his back, but with his family and new friends there to help, overtime his life becomes a little easier. Until Julian, an arrogant, rich antagonist, makes August’s first year of school feel like his last.
When August was born nobody, not even the doctors could have predicted his condition. August suffers from mandibulofacial or Treacher Collins Syndrome (TCS). Treacher Collins Syndrome is a genetic disorder that most often affects the cheekbones, jaw, chin, and ears. Even though August was young he knew he was different to other children from the way he was treated, the way people starred at him and constant hospital visits. Despite all of this, August had a loving family and a huge passion for Star Wars and his dog Daisy. When August was young, he was home-schooled by his mum, however as grew older his mum couldn’t teach him everything he needed to know, so his parents decide to send him to school. At school, as much as he tries, August can’t seem to fit in until a nice boy name Jack and a lovely girl name Summer help him discover his way through school life. But even with his friends by his side, Julian and his goons refuse to leave August alone. This leaves August miserable because deep down he knows this is what the rest of his schooling life will be like.
I have never been an avid reader, but reading Wonder placed me in a world of wonder. Wonder is a beautiful book that shows you what life is like for a boy who has experienced more heartache than any 10-year-old should. The book is also very realistic. I’m sad to say but in reality people too would stare and other 10-year-olds would make fun of and tease anyone who had August’s condition. Wonder doesn’t suggest that August’s life is easy or will get easier- I like this honesty. Another fantastic quality of the novel is the fact that some of the chapters are written from other characters points of view revealing what they thought and felt. My favourite chapters are from Via and Julian. Via is August’s older sister. Her chapter really shows her pain of having a younger brother with such a condition. In the book, Via starts high school, this is really hard for her because her best friend became popular and they loose their friendship. Via also felt like her brother was more important, this is told by one quote, “The world revolves around the son, not the daughter”. This quote reflects how Via felt throughout the book. Julian’s chapter is my second favourite because it shows the point of view from the bully which is quite uncommon and unique. Through Julian’s perspective you can understand the reasoning behind his behaviour. I truly believe Wonder is an amazing book, even if you’re not a reader- you should read this book!
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, even if your favourite genre is horror, or like mine fantasy, you will still love this book. This is why I rate it a five out of five. Wonder is different from other books because it shows the story from different points of view. Even though the main character is August you still see Jack, Summer and many other character’s point of view- that’s why it’s such a good book. You are given the opportunity to understand all of the characters more, instead of just the main one. The book also teaches you the value of being kind, the most famous quote from the book is, ” When given a choice between being right and being kind, choose kind”. This small quote is so powerful, just like the book.