Auggie is a 10-year-old boy who loves Star Wars, his dog Daisy, being tucked in by his parents at night, his big sister Via, and Halloween. He hates going out in public, because when people see him, they do a double-take at best, and are incredibly nasty at worst. You see, Auggie was born with an extremely rare set of conditions that caused innumerable health problems and a facial deformity that leads others to compare his looks to a burns victim, Darth Sidious, an orc and E.T., amongst other nasties.
Auggie has to face his fear of the outside world and learn to deal with it, while teaching the outside world a thing or two on dealing with him, when he goes to school for the first time in his life. As anyone who’s ever been to school can tell you, it can be a bitch of a place filled with kids who are super cruel. Auggie doesn’t have it easy, that’s for sure, and my heart just broke for him in several places. But his kindness, sensitivity, wisdom and especially his self-deprecating sense of humour see him through and make him a delight to spend time with.
But this isn’t just Auggie’s story. It’s split into multiple parts, each told from a different point of view, and this insight into how others see Auggie – and themselves, in relation to him – is fascinating, and gives the story a depth it perhaps wouldn’t have reached otherwise. My one gripe is that I wish there was more distinction between the characters’ voices; there is one part where punctuation (or lack thereof) is used to indicate a unique voice, but overall I didn’t notice a major difference between the voices of Auggie, his older sister Via, his best friends Jack and Summer, and so on. That niggle aside, they were all intriguing, well-built characters and I did value seeing things from their perspectives.
What I liked most about Wonder was the way it tackled a subject that isn’t often covered in books (at least the ones I come across). It was a refreshing, heart-warming read that will definitely make you cry – but will make you smile even more.
Published: March 2012, Random House
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