*Warning – This review contains spoilers.
My daughter and I both read this book in preparation for the movie release this month, so I thought it would be fun to do a Q&A and share with you how my daughter and I felt about this book.
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?
R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.
1. Did you like the way R.J. Palacio told the story from alternating viewpoints? Why or why not?
Tina – Loved the alternating viewpoints! Oftentimes one can misread a situation and alternating viewpoints is one way of showing that. No one person knows the whole story and everyone has their own opinion on what did and did not happen.
Alycia – I liked how the story was told from multiple viewpoints. For every story there are always different sides to it, and oftentimes in a book we do not get to see the different viewpoints, but with the way Wonder was written we got multiple viewpoints on one single story.
2. What parts of the story made you particularly sad?
Tina – It broke my heart when August was in his Halloween costume at school and overhead his “best friend” complaining about having to be his friend.
Alycia – The part of the story that made me the saddest would be Halloween at school. August was dressed up and had a mask covering his face, his “friends” did not know he was in the room so they were talking behind his back saying how they did not actually want to be his friend.
3. What part of the story made you laugh or made you feel happy?
Tina – One of the most touching parts was when Miranda pretended to be sick and refused to be the lead in the school play on opening night, essentially giving Violet (August’s sister) the lead. She loves and cares so much for August and the Pullman family she wanted them to have an opportunity to see Violet in the play.
Alycia – The part that made me the happiest would be after the campout movie night. Everyone was so nice to him at school after learning about the kind of bullying he was experiencing. You could see a huge shift in the kids attitudes and it was touching to see how they supported him.
4. Which characters did you relate to? What kind of middle schooler were you? How are you now?
Tina – I didn’t completely relate to any one character, but I think I most related to August. I was painfully shy in middle school and just wanted to blend into the woodwork and not be noticed. I didn’t have a lot of friends and didn’t like the way I looked. I’m not nearly as shy as I once was, but I do still feel uncomfortable with a lot of attention.
Alycia – I would say that when I was younger I could relate the most to August. In middle school I was quiet, shy, and didn’t really want to be noticed by anyone, so I can relate to August in that way. Now I am more outgoing, not as quiet in class, and am able to give my input during classroom discussions.
5. All year the students learn “Mr. Browne’s Precepts” and then write their own over the summer. What did you think of these? Do you have any of your own?
Tina – I loved Mr. Browne’s precepts. Students always benefit from setting and striving for a goal. I also really liked that he wanted them to send him a postcard over the summer with their own precept.
I have told my kids for years…no regrets. Think long and hard when making a decision because once the decision is made there are to be no regrets. If you think you may have a regret you better rethink your decision.
Alycia – I like the idea of Mr .Browne’s Precepts, it gives the students something to strive for, or something to keep in mind while going through their daily lives to try and become better people. One of my favorites that he used would be “Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much’. This was an important one for August’s class to hear because there was a lot of bullying that took place in the story. I would like to incorporate the concept of Mr. Browne’s Precepts into my classroom someday.
6. Did you think it was realistic that Amos, Miles, and Henry would defend Auggie against the bullies from another school?
Tina – I think it is realistic. It kind of ironic, but I could see a situation where a bully could come to the defense of their own classmate. They know it’s not right and sometimes seeing someone else doing it is the wake up call they need to do the right thing.
Alycia – I do think that was realistic, kids will do surprising things in moments like that. They know deep down what is right to do and will follow through with that. Even though they bully him themselves, they still will stand up for them. For example – some parents say they are allowed to yell at their kids, but nobody else is allowed to.
7. Did you like the ending?
Tina – Yes, I like the ending. It’s always nice to see kids learn from their mistakes and rally around to support one another, rather than ganging up on each other. We all mess up, it is what you do with it that counts. We should be celebrated for our differences, not shunned.
Alycia – I do like the ending of this book. We are able to see a complete transformation of August from the beginning of the book. He is now accepting of himself, proud of who he is, and has friends and family who have his back.
8. Rate the book.
Tina – 5 stars
Alycia – 5 stars
One of my favorite quotes: ” ‘Shall we make a new rule of life…always try to be a little kinder than is necessary?’ “
*I pulled these question from: “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio—Book Club Discussion Questions
This was a lot of fun to do with my daughter! I was surprised how close many of our answers were to each other and we are looking forward to seeing movie later this month.
My Rating: 5/5
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: 2/14/2012
Pages: 316 (eBook)