With it’s upcoming film adaptation, Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, is again captivating reading audiences everywhere. The book, published in 2012, has won numerous awards and was seen on the New York Times Best Seller list. And after finally reading Wonder for myself this weekend, I can certainly see why!
A quick synopsis of the story immediately alerts the reader that they are in for a delicate, yet inspiring read. The story about August “Auggie” Pullman, a 10-year-old with a facial deformity trying to fit in at elite Manhattan private school, is sure to make readers ponder their own privilege of beauty in a world where appearance is everything. And yet, this book is much more than that.
The book begins with the narration of August, but as narration alternates to different characters, one begins to sees the delicate ripple effect one life may have on a sea of individuals and how each ripple shapes the world. The story blossoms outward, beginning with the the growth of one little boy, and with each narrative adding the bloom of a sister, a friend, etc, until one sees a garden of growth, complete with the thistles and thorns which inevitably accompany every garden.
The book does not shirk away from the inevitable ugly truths, but by confronting the realities of the seemingly meaningless cruelty of the universe, Wonder manages to reveal the subsequent call to kindness which confronts humanity daily. Choose to be kind.