Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten year old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go.
Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life. Now for the first time he’s been sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them underneath it all?
Wonder is in fact a children’s book and although I do very occasionally read young adult and children’s books, Wonder is not one I would have normally picked, however I chose to read it for some work I was doing and I’m so glad I did as it was such a good story.
A large proportion of the story is told from Auggie’s point of view however later in the book you begin to get sections told from his sister and friends points of view too woven inbetween Auggie’s chapters. This is something I really loved about Wonder as it gave you a lot of different perspectives rather than just one side of the story. As Auggie is a 10 year old boy the language and experiences aren’t too difficult for children to understand or relate to however it’s not so simple that adults can’t enjoy it either. Later in the book when Via, his sister, is telling her side of the story it did become a little complicated and heavy going so this part may require a little explaining to children. Obviously it makes perfect sense to adults but the age range that this book is aimed at may not understand some parts as there was even words in there that I couldn’t pronounce. This particular section heavily focuses on the genetic aspect of why Auggie looks like he does so it gets quite scientific although it’s good that this explanation is in there as it will help children to understand the issues presented in the book more.
When I first read the blurb for Wonder I have to admit to expecting it to be a little self righteous – a typical story of how someone overcomes adversity early on to go on an lead a perfect life – in all a little unoriginal. I couldn’t have been more surprised, what you get with Wonder is a simple, down to earth and real account of life when you look different to everyone else. Things aren’t always rosey, people don’t always want to be friends with you and things are tough for family members and on top of it all you have to deal with the issues all kids that age go through. I liked that although Via admitted to loving her brother she wasn’t shy about explaining that she did at times resent how everything revolved around him and how she didn’t get the time with her parents that Auggie did. She didn’t want to be known for been the girl with the deformed brother she wanted to be known for being herself, Olivia Pullman.
Overall Wonder is a brilliant book for teaching kids a few life lessons in a simple, funny and friendly way. The characters throughout are easily likeable (except the one’s you’re not supposed to like) and the chapters are relativly short meaning children (and adults) won’t get easily bored. The edition of the precepts throughout the book and the list at the end is a really nice touch. I simply cannot find fault with this book and think it’s perfect for adults and children alike, although I should point out there is an adult version of Wonder being released in August this year as well so it’s going to be interesting to see how it differs from this version.