Book Review

R. J. Palacio’s Wonder Book Review

What Difficulties and Challenges This Book Depicts

We are all different and everyone is special in their own way. A touching story told by R.J. Palacio in her book Wonder (2012) is relatable to most of us in more ways than an average reader would think. Its protagonist, August (called “The Wonder” by his mother near the end of the book) is a boy with normal hobbies living in a normal world, in a loving family of mother, father and his big sister Via. But a rare genetic mutation has made his face severely different from what everyone sees as normal which causes huge problems for his socialization and everyday life.

From his early childhood August has been brought up and educated at home but as the time comes his parents decide to enroll him into a private middle school to not let him grow isolated from the world. And this is when the main events of the book begin. Understandably enough, joining the pupils’ community poses serious challenges for the boy not only because of bullying but also due to the difficulty of building relationships with his friends and maintaining his self-esteem regardless of his hard situation. Some tensions also occur inside the family, particularly with his older sister Via whose personality is also given a closer attention in this book.

The conflicts are one of the main themes going through the whole plot. August has to face some hostility from:

  • Julian, the main bully from his class
  • Bullies from other classes menacing him outdoors
  •  Some parents from his class
  • His sister Via who grows estranged from him at some point

Strong Sides of The Wonder’s Protagonist

It is important to stress that August is shown as a strong character, ready to overcome challenges that he has to face all the time and to defend his right to lead a normal life. Because of that he gains recognition among his classmates and their parents and the book finally shows him at a school celebration event, free from bullying and having a good time. Generally, this story is not a series of miseries as is may seem to a reader who has just started with it. Instead, it is full of fun, energy and positive outlook on things around as it depicts the boy who does not sink into despair because of his condition but instead chooses to live a full life and face any challenges that come along his way.

How Does This Book Inspire Readers

The story of August felt very inspirational to me and it definitely is not just the story about physical difference. Anyone of us is different in some way, outside or inside, and it is up to us to reject or recognise ourselves as human beings with a right for a happy life. The book shows us several stages of August’s character strengthening and eventually making his situation better:

  1. Understanding of problem
  2. Facing a serious challenge – that is, joining a school
  3. Accepting the challenge
  4. Overcoming obstacles and conflicts with bullies, friends and family
  5. Reaching a state of balance and mutual understanding with the surrounding people.

Love and support overcome life problems – this is what this book states. It leaves a refreshing feeling after you read it and can be equally interesting for children and adults.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (49 votes, average: 4.31 out of 5)

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