Elementary Teacher, Coffee Lover, Cross-Stitcher, Audiobook Addict
Wonder is a story that all middle school children should be reading. As an elementary teacher, I can tell you that it doesn't do justice to the occasional savagery of young adults, but it's still a close enough approximation to be a valuable tale.
The trouble with this recording is the narrator who performs the role of August. August is in many ways a naive and overprotected character, but the narrator's vocal presentation is not nuanced and represents him as more infantile than I understood him to be. Indeed, I'm not sure this male role should have been performed by a woman: I found her attempt at a prepubescent male child's voice to be grating and unpleasant to listen to. The narrator who performed Jack's character was much more believable as a city kid; indeed, all the other character performances (some of which may have been performed by the same narrator who performs as August, but using a different voice, thankfully) were excellent. If you can tolerate this troublesome character representation, then you'll enjoy this book. I gritted my teeth and plowed through the initial sections until the narrators switched, and I'm glad I did---the story's worth reading to its conclusion.
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.
Ranks as one of the most listened to in our household, adults and children.
Augie, for sure. He's honest, resilient and funny.
Too many to name. Some scenes are painful but the characters and readers make the story very listenable. The hero of this story is just so darn human and like able.
Probably something from the great quotes they use to begin each section.
Have listened to this story multiple times and will many more.
excellent story, voices, and the written narratives take you to different points of view that really deepen the story. as a whole, this is a brilliant story, that everyone in our long road trip enjoyed, from 6 years old to adults. our 11 year old particularly enjoyed it.