Wednesday, March 12, 2014

RJ Palacio - Wonder

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances? 

Comment: I've purchased this book back in September, in a book fair near the place where I live. I bought the translated edition, of course, and had some expectations because some people whose taste is similar to mine have enjoyed this a lot and did tell me to try it one day. I was reluctant because in my head this was more teenage drama and I try to avoid that these days. After all, this is ore children's fiction, which, somehow, it's easier to swallow.

This is the story of August, he was born with a facial deformity and now has to go to school for the first time. He's afraid but while learning new things about his studies, he will also learn a lot about friendship and courage.

I'll say it right away. I thought this would be more dramatic, intense and with a lot more tears. The story has this sad tone here and there for obvious reason, mostly guilt and prejudice situations, related to August's issue, but not the intense teasing and bullying children go through in this almost "plastic" world of today. I guess, being this targeted to children it's good there's a hopeful and happy lesson in the end, but I don't know if I should feel glad so many children can feel worthy by reading this or if I should feel let down because I didn't see a more realistic situation portrayed.Yes, August felt prejudice towards himself, but nothing someone can't bear to testify.

The story follows August in his experience of enrolling at school, with so many new people and students, he's 10 if I read correctly, and what it means to be the center of attention for a while. I think there's the obvious lesson of teaching how to face your fears, but also the notion school isn't always the worst enemy you can have when you're different. It was interesting to see all those scholar situations and how August went through them.

There are also chapters with other character's POV which helps to see what happens when August isn't there. It's interesting to see what some characters are actually thinking. Sometimes our perspective isn't the most correct one.
The author uses short chapters which makes the story move along nicely and fast. I think it only took em one day to read this.

The reader also sees many family interactions. August is portrayed as part of a loving, united family, with parents who love him and his sister. Yes, one can say there are flaws in there, mostly in the way the mother dotes on August in detriment of the sister, although we see this when it's the sister's POV. obviously life can't be perfect, but it's one of those examples of how sweetened things were, in a way. It would be more realistic to see a loving family yes, but with a more stressed dynamic, which I assume would be closer to the reality. Still, it was an enjoyable read and in the end it was nice to see everyone earning to be a better person and how wonderful is to just be who you are and to accept others as well.

All in all, a good enough read, many good moments, easy to read, easy to understand and to make one thin about several situations and ideas.
But I still think it could have been stronger.
Grade: 7/10

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