by Mayumi Cruz
Wonder by RJ Palacio follows the story of Auggie, a 10-year-old boy with a severely deformed face, as he comes out of home schooling and steps straight into a proper middle school for the first time. Having been sheltered since birth, he now has to learn to interact with people who are either scared or turned off by his so-called ugliness. In this book, his adventures—wins and losses abound—are told in a mix of humorous and touching manner.
Easy to read, the story is narrated not just by Auggie but also by his sister and his friends, which I loved. It gave me, and other readers, the chance to see Auggie through the eyes of people close to him. With this, we come to understand and empathize with their reactions toward his disfigured face without hating or judging them—after all, they were just being human.
If I were to sum up the message of this wonderful, heartwarming, uplifting book, it is that it tells the triumph of a good and kind heart. I cried towards the end of the book. I felt for Auggie, thinking of many more children like him struggling to fit in, to be accepted and to be loved.
“Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.
This book is not just about growing up; it’s growing up with something—be that a deformity, a disability or something else—you can’t do anything about. What makes it special is that the author did not dwell on the why’s of the condition. Instead, she maneuvered on acceptance, magnifying the good instead of focusing on the bad. If you’re looking for a powerful, hopeful story, look no further.
“Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right use (sic) of strength. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.”