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I won t describe what I look like Whatever you re thinking, it s probably worse August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school Starting th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing than to be treated as an ordinary kid but his new classmates can t get past Auggie s extraordinary face Wonder, begins from Auggie s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others Wow I am so glad that I finally got around to listening to this story Wonder had been sitting on my TBR list for a really long time, but I had been waiting for a time to listen to it with my daughters That time finally arrived last weekend, when we had to spend a full day in the car on a trip.I had read many great reviews for this book, so I had really high hopes going into it In fact, I was worried that I would be disappointed, as I often am with a book that is surrounded by so much hype Wow I am so glad that I finally got around to listening to this story Wonder had been sitting on my TBR list for a really long time, but I had been waiting for a time to listen to it with my daughters That time finally arrived last weekend, when we had to spend a full day in the car on a trip.I had read many great reviews for this book, so I had really high hopes going into it In fact, I was worried that I would be disappointed, as I often am with a book that is surrounded by so much hype However, I can say that this book did not let me down in any way In fact, it exceeded every expectation that I had I absolutely loved this story Wonder tells the story of a young boy, August Pullman aka Auggie , who is going to begin attending school for the first time ever Auggie has been homeschooled for years by his mother because he was born with severe facial deformities, requiring multiple operations over the course of his young life Despite the myriad of surgeries that he has undergone, he still lives with significant facial disfigurement Now, Auggie will be entering the fifth grade at Beecher Prep.Told from multiple POVs, this book provides a thorough account of Auggie s experiences I was especially impressed with the raw honesty of his sister s POV Growing up with Auggie wasn t easy, as she always came second to his needs She struggled with resentment and guilt over having those feelings, as she truly loved her brother but craved the attention of her parents also.Auggie s POV was also brutally honest He was well aware of how other people viewed him Yet, no amount of awareness can make a child immune to the stares and cruel words His story was heartbreaking, but inspiring.It was also easy to relate to the POVs of others, including Jack, the boy who befriends Auggie at school Although some of his actions were upsetting, he was only human I had to remind myself that he was just a young boy, battling his own insecurities and trying to fit in at a very impressionable age Even good people do bad things sometimes.As a parent, I both admired and sympathized with Auggie s mother My heart went out to her I could only imagine how difficult it would be to enroll your child into school, wanting to provide as normal a life as possible, while also wanting to shelter and protect him I don t know what I would ve done in her shoes.Not surprisingly, this was an incredibly emotional story At times, it was downright depressing However, I couldn t help but fall in love with Auggie and his resilience This story broke my heart, but it also inspired me Most importantly, this story will make you reflect on your views and behaviors This story highlights the cruelty of people s actions, bred from ignorance and fear Never have I read a story that so effectively prompts readers to examine the impact of their actions and words For children, this was a wonderful lesson in empathy This book prompted some thoughtful discussion with my daughters 5 and 10 about bullying and the golden rule Although some of the story went over the head of my 5 year old, who was primarily hung up on the hilarity of the farting nurse , my 10 year old didn t miss a beat I have no doubt that this story will stick with her and make herconsiderate and empathetic toward other children Wonder is the type of book that should be required reading in schools and I m glad to hear that it is in some schools already Just like The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank s Diary , this book is a book that guides you to be a better,thoughtful, person It is beautiful and engaging No doubt about it, this book left it s mark on me I highly recommend this book to everyone, young and old Check outof my reviews at www.bookaddicthaven.com I feel like I want to attach a giant asterisk to those two stars up there I acknowledge that this opinion will not be shared by 90% orof readers I know that most everyone is going to love this book it s a very sweet, heartwarming story And on top of that it s well written and flows really nicely I finished it in one afternoon For a really well thought out, positive review I would read Flannery s If you insist on staying here be prepared for dissent and lot of middle school remi I feel like I want to attach a giant asterisk to those two stars up there I acknowledge that this opinion will not be shared by 90% orof readers I know that most everyone is going to love this book it s a very sweet, heartwarming story And on top of that it s well written and flows really nicely I finished it in one afternoon For a really well thought out, positive review I would read Flannery s If you insist on staying here be prepared for dissent and lot of middle school reminiscing on my part You ve been warned And now to the task at hand This is the story of August, a ten year old boy who s attending school for the first time He was born with major facial deformities, and has been homeschooled from early childhood His parents think it s time for him to attempt a real school environment, but he isn t sure In public, he s often greeted by curious stares or even open revulsion Will he be able to survive middle school This book got under my skin a lotthan I ever expected it to I thought that my major complaint if any would be that it was too light, too sweet But this book has a lot of depth It contains six orI kind of lost track points of view The narrative is handed off relay style from one pair of eyes to another, starting with August and moving forward to his sister Via and then to his friends I think this was largely successful although, and this is just my opinion I think that if you need to distinguish multiple POV s using differences in spelling capitalizations fonts then you probably shouldn t be writing multiple POV s Justin s chapter written in present tense and with no capitalizations and the emails texts between Auggie and Jack which were horrific in their spelling, even though the two boys have perfect spelling in their respective sections felt distracting But for the most part I found this to be a very engrossing, intelligent, thoughtful read I related really strongly to the chapters from Via and Summer, in particular.However, I think that the main reason that I just could not connect with this book is that I fundamentally disagree with its central lesson, which boils down to be kind To explain myself properly, I need to relate a little history of my own and this is where this review gets personal One of my best friends for the past almost seventeen years is disabled I don t like saying that, because she hates that word I can hear her voice in my head right now, doing an exaggerated parody of the word handicapped hayun d CAPPED, which she also hates We met in 8th grade French class and quickly bonded over a shared love of movies and just about everything else We were practically joined hip to wheel she would totally laugh at that from grades 8 11, when I tragically had to move to another state Even so, we ve remained close I attended her wedding three years ago and we ve commiserated over the newborn phase now that she s had her first child.My friend has very limited mobility on the entire right side of her body As a small child, she walked using a walker, but made the decision as she got older to start using a wheelchair People often stared when she walked she moved so differently than everyone else They stared less when she was in a chair But there s one thing that my friend has always hated eventhan curious or disgusted stares when people asked her why she needed a wheelchair I don t know how many times a well meaning friend or adult sat down with her and asked all concern, all solicitude for her story She got so tired of it that she started making up fake answers This one was my favorite I I I don t know, man I was f fine yesterday I could walk Y you gotta help me I think it s contagiousAnd then she would proceed to clutch at whoever was asking.When we were fifteen, we spent one day together going around the mall and her neighborhood in wheelchairs I used one of her older ones It wasn t like some sophisticated attempt at a social experiment on my part I just wanted to get a small glimpse of what it was like for her In hindsight, I think that I could probably be accused of the kind of arrogant curiosity that she hated but she was forgiving enough to go along with my idea and if it bothered her, she never mentioned it What I remember most was how kind everyone was How solicitous How they looked at us with soft gazes, as they said things like, do you girls need any help todayI finally got a small inkling of what it must be like to deal with that for your entire life a constant wave of kind smiles and soft voices and helpfulness a constant blindness to everything about you It says you are not someone to be taken seriously, to be respected You are someone to be pitied A few of the many reasons that I love my friend so much are that she s outspoken, blunt, honest, and bold When we were teenagers, she would go right up to boys and flirt shamelessly with them She would state her opinions loudly with no apologies It was like a dare It was like she was saying I dare you to disagree with me, hate me, lust after me My friend didn t want to be treated with kindness she wanted to be treated like a person She wanted to be loved, hated, desired, or ignored just like everyone else And now I finally come to the point why I couldn t possibly connect with this book some spoilers follow I don t think that I m giving too much away when I say that Auggie gets a happy ending Or at least, it s supposed to be Auggie the character seems over the moon about it all He just loves it when the former bullies in his class start patting him on the back and calling him little dude like he s their special mascot That s what real friends do He s just so happy as his friends are growing up and discovering the opposite sex, as his beautiful friends Summer and Jack seem destined to be a couple It s so great Good thing he doesn t want any of that Nope He s just content to remain the asexual third wheel forever And he s ecstatic to receive an award for kindness that even he acknowledges was given to him because he s the kid with the disability And of course they all just cheer and cheer as he walks up to the podium in front of everyone so happy Even though he hates being in front of crowds And, YAY It s picture time Even though he s had a lifelong aversion to having his picture taken let s get a million With all of his close, close only started acknowledging him two seconds ago friends Okay, so sarcasm aside I do realize that not every disabled experience is the same Maybe Auggie would like to be acknowledged I don t know But when everyone s congratulating themselves for being so kind to him, it makes me feel insulted on his behalf Doesn t he want to be taken seriously Doesn t he want to be seen asthan just the special kid Doesn t he want to be respected as a person As a boy All I have is my own experience, and it tells me that it s better to treat people with dignity and respect than with kindness And so the central point of this book for all that it is very well meaning seems at best simplistic to me and at worst insulting Wonder is one of those rare books that makes you want to hug everyone in it so tightly that they ll have no doubt about how much you love them and beyond that, it also makes you want to reach out and hug the whole world It s an upbeat, humorous, life affirming story that deserves to be read and it s one that may just change its readers, too.If you remember how terrifying it was to be a kid on a day to day basis, you ll appreciate August s story 10 year old Auggie is going to school for the fir Wonder is one of those rare books that makes you want to hug everyone in it so tightly that they ll have no doubt about how much you love them and beyond that, it also makes you want to reach out and hug the whole world It s an upbeat, humorous, life affirming story that deserves to be read and it s one that may just change its readers, too.If you remember how terrifying it was to be a kid on a day to day basis, you ll appreciate August s story 10 year old Auggie is going to school for the first time in his life, and he has to navigate new rules, learn to interact with teachers, and figure out how to make new friends In addition, he also has a severe facial deformity that stops strangers in their tracks, so all the usual perils of the fifth grade take on evenheightened stakes With the matter of fact wisdom that warmed Beverly Cleary s books, this story about growing up is full of heart and humor, and written with a clear eyed intelligence that never descends into cynicism Auggie s smart, funny personality will win over readers who will agonize with him over the complicated web of friendships and family even as they cheer for him as he learns some of life s big and scary lessons It s okay, I know I m weird looking, take a look, I don t bite Hey, the truth is, if a wookie started going to school all of a sudden, I d be curious, I d probably stare a bit And if I was walking with Jack or Summer, I d probably whisper to them Hey, there s the wookie And if the wookie caught me saying that, he d know I wasn t trying to be mean I was just pointing out the fact that he s a wookie Even with a positive attitude and smart, loving parents, however, Auggie s story is not an easy one to read, and my emotions ran wildly from sadness to hilarity to terrible anger at what happens to him Not all kids are nice Some kids behave one way in front of adults and another way in front of kids Some adults are downright cruel And just when you think life can t possibly get any harder orchallenging, sometimes it does.Although the book is primarily told from Auggie s perspective, it was a surprise to me when it switched to a few other points of view With a total of six different voices, I would normally say this is far too many, but in this particular case every person offered an insight into August s beautiful personality and amazing life in a way that would be impossible to otherwise know Reading about Auggie s 27 surgeries, rejoicing at his vibrant inner life, hurting for him when he felt lonely or misunderstood, and seeing his life from various different perspectives, it s impossible not to be moved by his story And how can you not love a boy who understands that sometimes his mom might need his precious teddy bearthan he does Not entirely random side note view spoiler In my former life, I worked in movie publicity In that position, you re subjected to a lot of wheedling and sob stories, so it s natural to develop a pretty jaded viewpoint So when a film critic forwarded a plea to me from the mom of a young boy who wanted to attend an advance screening of the latest Harry Potter movie, my first reaction was automatic suspicion why couldn t this kid wait the two months until the movie was out I did a lot of research before I finally spoke to the mom, but I m so glad I did Because it turned out the boy was in the advanced stages of an incurable illness and was not expected to live much longer.It made me so terribly ashamed that I had doubted the story Understandable, yes, but I knew that the letter could easily have been overlooked in the hustle and bustle of the business and it scared me to think that something that so important might have been lost because of other things that mattered so much less In this case, I made sure this boy and his family got the VIP treatment, including a ton of swag and a very memorable evening He was absolutely incandescent that night, and his parents told me afterwards that it was one of the happiest experiences in his young life When his mom told me a few months later that he d passed away, it was terribly sad But I was so grateful to have had that brief contact, and to have helped bring a tiny bit of joy into his last months It was, just as Wonder is, a reminder that it s so much easier to look the other way, because of impatience or fear But sometimes reaching out to another human being can be a life changing experience, for everyone concerned As many have said before me, taking action doesn t just change the other person, it also changes you hide spoiler Tears were streaming down my face as I finished this book and the funny thing is, they were primarily tears of joy Wonder is written with the kind of sensitivity and insight that I had hoped for when I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and it went the extra mile to be an uplifting story that made me want to embrace life and the people in it, too I also very much appreciate that this middle grade book is written for its intended age group, not just a book for adults in the guise of a children s book, even though it s certainly one that can be enjoyed by readers of any ageThere are always going to be jerks in the world, Auggie, she said, looking at me But I really believe, and Daddy really believes, that there aregood people on this earth than bad people, and the good people watch out for each other and take care of each otherA story like this comes along just a few times in a lifetime, and I fervently hope that readers will find their way to it This short book that doesn t waste a single page in squeezing your emotions so tightly you feel like you can t breathe, but when they re finally released, you may find that your heart is full of evenempathy, compassion, and love than you thought possible We expect to be surprised by cruelty, but how wonderful it is to also be surprised by kindness This review also appears in The Midnight Garden An advance copy was provided by the publisher.About the Inspiration Behind the StoryThe ice cream incident in this story actually happened, but perhaps not in the way you might think Learn about the surprising inspiration behind this story on the RJ Palcio s website She s definitely an author to watch Ye gods, what a wonderful book I don t read a lot of realistic middle grade fiction I tend to gravitate toward fantasy But this is probably the best such book I ve read since Sherman Alexie s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.The main character August Auggie Pullman is a ten year old boy with severe facial abnormalities Little kids scream when they see him Older kids make fun of him and call him a freak Auggie is home schooled through grade four, but for middle school his p Ye gods, what a wonderful book I don t read a lot of realistic middle grade fiction I tend to gravitate toward fantasy But this is probably the best such book I ve read since Sherman Alexie s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian.The main character August Auggie Pullman is a ten year old boy with severe facial abnormalities Little kids scream when they see him Older kids make fun of him and call him a freak Auggie is home schooled through grade four, but for middle school his parents decide to send him to a private school, Beecher Prep, in New York City Wonder is the story of his fifth grade year, told partly from Auggie s perspective, and partly from the other kids in his life his sister Via, her oldest friend Miranda, Via s boyfriend Justin, and Jack and Summer, Auggie s new friends at Beecher Prep Each narrator has a distinct, completely believable voice Palacio writes with just the right balance of humor and pathos, making each character both flawed and sympathetic She gets kids how they think, how they talk, how they have the capacity to be both horribly mean and incredibly brave and kind I recognize these characters from my years of teaching middle school, and I m sure young readers will recognize them too The book rings with authenticity The short chapters and shifting narrative make this a quick, easy read It s a feel good book with a great message, and the ending is a tearjerker in the best possible way I d recommend it without hesitation to most middle grade readers, girls or boys, even those who may not normally pick up realistic fiction