I love kids books, true crime stories, and memoirs about people who have overcome incredible challenges or still fight them every day.
Jack Will for sticking up for Augie when most others hated him
Perseverance through childhood challenges
Great book on a child who is severely deformed and hated by many, but ends up with a couple of close friends who stick by him. Great for pre-teens and teens in learning that differences in others doesn't mean they can't be successful or loving and should not be treated differently. They have feelings too.
I read and listen to books. I drink tea. I sleep like a cat and wished I lived in Hawaii.
I found myself rooting for Auggie in this story. Auggie has a severe facial deformity and is about to go from homeschooling to the 5th grade in a real school. This book reminded me of the right ways to treat people who are different from us. It reiterated the lesson you learn as a child from your parents, to not stare and not treat people differently just because they are different than we are. This was a beautiful story about all the obstacles Auggie faces and how he overcomes them in the end. I enjoyed listening to the many character's perspectives in the book and glad that it wasn't just told from Auggie's voice. Also, I enjoyed having 3 narrators as it enhanced the listening experience. Even though this is a young adult book, I think readers and listeners of all ages would enjoy this story.
My only complaint: the cartoonish narration detracted from this otherwise sublime and poignant story. A wonderful book– one that everyone should read.
Although "Wonder" is written for a younger audience with a child narrator's point of view, the story is compelling for any age listener as it hits home on the issues of image and acceptance and the prejudice against people who are not physically perfect. The author does a nice job of telling the story without preaching, and the characters mature along with the story. The use of several different points of view is excellent, and each individual narrator adds depth to the overall plot. It's not the type of book I normally read but I'm glad I picked it up and would recommend it as a good listen.
Wonderfully written story about a boy who is different told from the viewpoints of various characters. One character tells his own story, another is a sister who has always stuck up for her beloved brother while secretly wishing for a different experience in her own life, another is a friends voice (or is he really a friend.) The narrators each did a great job of defining these different characters through their heartfelt reading.
There were many who each had a different degree of impact on this story, but the main character had such a wit and sarcasm in the face of come difficult barriers in his life.
They all did a great job of bringing their character to life.
At times I wanted to shake the characters, at others I laughed out loud. I was very touched at other moments and nearly shed a tear.
For anyone who works with students with various needs and wants to hear (in their own words) what it might like to walk in their shoes for a day. Sometimes in education, we miss the subtleties that go on between our students and this book reminds you to keep an eye out for the underdog and that your words can have an impact.
Say something about yourself!
I have to admit that when I first started listening, the narrator's interpretation of Augie's voice wa a little hard to get used to. But the narrator hit just the right note, because a kid with a severe facial deformity WOULD have trouble speaking. In retrospect, this was perfect because it gave me a hint of the feeling other characters have upon meeting Augie. His face makes people uncomfortable--to say the least.
I found this masterful book after reading a NY Times rave review. I work in the YA market, so I need to stay current with the best books. Although this is supposed to be a middle grade novel, I'm giving it out to many of my adult friends for Christmas.
The characters, each and every one, are so beautifully realized. You will root for Augie, this very funny, very cool, but very damaged kid. You will love the unlikely friends he makes and boo for his villainous enemies. You will love the way Augie wins people over.
Parents might be interested to know that, unlike many of today's popular middle grade and YA fiction, the parents in this book are caring, dedicated parents. They aren't drunk, they aren't on drugs, they aren't brain-dead. I loved how they struggle to do their best for both their teenage daughter as well as for Augie, who naturally soaks up most of the attention.
I have given this book to a fifth grader, who devoured it. I've given it to a junior in high school, who devoured it. I cannot wait until the next RJ Palacio book comes out.
Well, I have to admit, it's an easy one: you will fall in love with the main character, Augie, an extremely ugly duckling who will never turn into a swan. You love him for the strides he boldly takes in a world that idealizes beauty.
Having said that, I also fell in love with Augie's sister, his wise principal, and all the friends who love him from the start--and those who learn the true meaning of beauty at the end.
I laughed a lot in this book. Palacio "gets" fifth graders and teens. I never cried, but I do recall a few times when I had that smile on my face, the one that's just before you cry because you're happy.
Buy this book. Give it to your friends. Give it to your parents. Give it to your siblings. Give it to you mailman. This is a wonderful, wonderful book! It's about a fifth grader--but this is a book for every age.
I thought Wonder was really...wonderful. It was right up there with other well-done audiobooks.
I enjoyed the way the story unraveled from different perspectives. Just when I was thinking, "now why did he react that way?" the narrator would shift and all would be revealed.
I really enjoyed Augie. How could you not love him? What a great tool for teaching kids about empathy and looking beyond someone's appearance. I thought he was a very believable kid. Not melodramatic, not pitiable, not too triumphant. Just relatable.
Fifth grade is not for the faint of heart.
Some of the narrators were stronger than others. I didn't like that some of them made Augie's voice sound like he was developmentally disabled.
When a book is this original, this heartfelt, this inspiring, this real, I find myself babbling in clich??: Wonder is truly wondrous.
Auggie Pullman is 10. He???s about to start fifth grade after being homeschooled, and he???s more than a little nervous: ???I know I???m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. ??? And I feel ordinary. Inside. But I know ordinary kids don???t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. I know ordinary kids don???t get stared at wherever they go.??? Born with a genetic facial deformity, Auggie has survived 27 operations since he was born. ???I won???t describe what I look like. Whatever you???re thinking, it???s probably worse.???
In a world where being even a little different can cause a lot of heartbreak, Auggie???s entry into a New York City private middle school is a shocker ??? for both him and everyone around him. Wonder follows Auggie through his public debut as he navigates beyond his comfort zone, finding new friends and allies, experiencing an independence he (nor his family) dreamed of, and learning who to trust and who to let go. [The NON-Wonder Award, by the way, unquestionably goes to a wealthy parent (who is vice president of the school board, no less) who Photoshops Auggie out of the class picture and even shares it with other parents!]
R.J. Palacio enhances Auggie???s story with multiple points of view ??? his friends, his sister, his sister???s new boyfriend, his sister???s ex-best friend even! ??? to create a richly detailed, utterly believable record of one extraordinary boy???s one unforgettable year. Note to parents: don???t read (or listen, as I did ??? so convincingly narrated by Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, and Kate Rudd) in crowded places, unless you???re okay with being an exhibitionist (pack Kleenex!).
The end during the principal's speech & the woods scene are two moments that I sat perfectly still for so I wouldn't miss a word.
The principal's speech.
Yes. I started listening with my children but couldnt wait for them. I listened without them and finished in 2 days. It's beautiful.
I bought the book for friends as well.
Mother, knitter, reader, lifelong learner, technical writer, former library assistant & hematologist.
This is a tough book for me to review as it's written for middle grade readers, and I graduated from that group long, long ago. It was so highly reviewed that I decided to read it. I think the 4 and 5 star reviews may be from people that like happy endings and can better imagine how this book will be received by the intended audience than I was able to.
Things I liked about Wonder:
*August is an engaging, original protagonist.
*Palacio's use of different points of view. August's sister, Via, had an amazing exploration of what it was like to be the non-sick, normal kid in the family. She hit on all the aspects, positive and negative, avoidable and unavoidable. I actually found Olivia to be the most interesting character.
*Palacio's whole exploration of "beauty is only skin deep" and "it's what's on the inside that counts" from many angles. Even after reading Wonder, I'm still not sure what my reaction to a person like August would be, or what the best response might be.
Things I didn't like about Wonder:
*I wish there had been more detailed medical information. The lack of detail is most likely because it's not something the intended audience needs or wants, but I think more information would have added to a better understanding of exactly what August had gone through during his ten years. There is a mention of his 27 surgeries, and that he suffers from Treacher-Collins syndrome combined with some rare mystery syndrome, but a bit more background would have added to exactly what a wonder he was.
*I wish there had been more development of Julian. He played a big part in the story, but was the least explored.
*I wish the ending had not been so "happily ever after". There were pat resolutions on all fronts and this is not how things would have worked out.
*I listened to this as an audiobook, and the voice of August was horrendous. I almost gave up in the first ten minutes because it was so bad. Another reviewer describes the voice as sounding like "a slightly retarded Marge Simpson" and I completely agree.
*The cover! Is it meant to be slightly disturbing without too much attention to detail? It's certainly not a depiction of August with one eye and the presence of ears! It may seem like a silly detail, but covers are important to me, and I think think this book deserved a far better cover.
Overall, 3 stars for a book that takes an overly simplistic approach (even for middle grade readers) to a very complex subject.