Tuesday, March 6, 2012

WONDER by R.J. Palacio

FIVE STARS for WONDER by R.J. Palacio

A few weeks back, I ranted a bit (okay, a lot), about the absence of aspirational heroes in Middle-Grade fiction these days. For the most part, I’m still feeling tantram-y about the general state of things in this regard. 


WONDER , by  R.J. Palacio , goes a long way to correct this. 

Let’s face it: there are books and then, there are BOOKS! And, by the latter category, I mean those rare gems that not only captivate us but also change us—-for the better—-by us having had the good fortune to have read them. 

 WONDER is such a wonder. It tilted my orbit, just a touch, and here’s why: 

The story is about Auggie, a normal kid with a horrifying facial deformity. Yes, I said *deformity* although, like everyone else in the story, the impact of that word diminishes for the reader as we, too, get to know this remarkable little man. 

The story unfolds through the eyes of first, Auggie, then in sections devoted to the people who know and love him. It’s a study in perspective—-how each character views and copes with the daunting challenges of everyday life when you’re always the center of unwanted, and sometimes hostile, attention. 

The writing is sublime perfection. Simple, and yet, so, so powerful. Palacio’s voice carries the sophisticated eloquence needed to lift such a melancholy story into the realm of inspiration. 

One of my favorite passages: 

“Why do I have to be so ugly, Mommy?” I whispered. 
“No, baby, you’re not…” 
“I know I am.” 
She kissed me all over my face. She kissed my eyes that came down too far. She kissed my cheeks that looked punched in. She kissed my tortoise mouth. She said soft words that I know were meant to help me, but words can’t change my face.” 

My heart aches, just typing that. 

There is so much wisdom in this book. I’m in no way surprised that so many have plucked pearls from its text. I am particularly fond of this one: 

“I think that there should be rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.” 

Wouldn’t we all be better people if we gave more of those and received at least one? 


  1. Hi C.S. and welcome to MMGM! I just became your newest follower. AND, funny coincidence, I'm also featuring WONDER on my MMGM blog! (I've been on an extended blogging break, so I didn't see your post until now)

  2. :o) Can't wait to see what you thought about it. Such a remarkable read!

  3. Nice to meet you, CS :) I LOVED this book!! I couldn't believe how simultaneously wonderful and heartbreaking it was. I cried more time than I could count, but hardest at the standing ovation. Such a celebration of kindness. Thanks for sharing your review :)