After seeing Wonder in theaters with my third grade sister’s class, I felt compelled to read the book, and I’m glad I did. The movie, directed by Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, was a pretty good adaptation of the book and the casting was amazing, but I enjoyed the book just as much and didn’t feel as teary-eyed, which is a good thing when I was reading it while traveling.
Wonder is about a fifth grade boy, Auggie, who is going to regular school for the first time. No big deal, right? Except, it is a big deal, because Auggie was born with craniofacial abnormalities and he’s spent ten years dealing with people staring at him and wondering what is wrong with him. So school is going to be a challenge, that’s for sure. There’s bullying, class picture day, science projects, and lunch room drama to deal with for everyone, including Auggie and his friends and enemies. Lucky for Auggie, he’s got amazing parents who care about him, a sister who just started high school, and a loyal dog, Daisy.
Something I particularly enjoyed about this book was that we get to see the main plot points of the novel and the passing of time through multiple points of view that go back in time sometimes but nonetheless carry the story forward and allow us to not only understand Auggie’s world but the world around Auggie. These narrators include Auggie himself, his friends Jack Will and Summer, his sister Via, Via’s boyfriend Justin, and Via’s former best friend Miranda. Some of these are written better than others (why doesn’t Justin use any capital letters??) but they helped round out the story and let us understand how other people perceive Auggie and handle the drama in his life and their own lives.
Overall, I think this is an excellent read for any age. My sister is 8 and loved it, I’,m 22 and loved it, and my mom, 40, really enjoyed the movie. It makes you really think hard about being kind to others and makes me glad I’m not still in middle/elementary school.
The one thing that REALLY bothered me about the book was the Auggie won the award at the end and not Jack Will. Jack deserved it for what he did for Auggie, and yes, Auggie is courageous for putting up with what he did and being brave to go to school and all that, but that just really fed into Via’s concerns over everything always being about Auggie. Can’t we reward the people around him?