Book Review: Wonder by Rj Palacio

My second read for this summer vacation is “Wonder” by Rj Palacio. At first I was hesitant to read this book because I was afraid of not liking it and getting disappointed once I finish it. I bought my copy of this book, hardbound, from the 35th Manila International Book Fair last September 2014 and when I told my friends about it they laughed at me because they didn’t think i understood the idea of book fairs. They were able to buy good books at a price of P50.00 on that book fair while I, on the other hand, bought “Wonder” which cost me around P450.00 (20% off!) I think.

Also I don’t usually buy hardbound books because they’re quite costly. But when I read the synopsis of Wonder at the back of the book that day, I was entirely caught. (Plus, the cover is really catchy. I like it 🙂 )

“My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”

So that boy on the cover is a ten-year old kid named August “Auggie” Pullman. He’s got a rare craniofacial abnormality which made him have to go through a LOT of surgeries and medications. Because of this, Auggie’s face looks very very different than usual.  When he was little, he even had a tube inserted to his mouth just so he could eat. Because of having a lot of medical concerns, he was home-schooled for a long time. But the year his parents decided he should go to a normal school for fifth grade became a turning point not only of Auggie’s life but also of people’s close to him. Maybe even of everyone that’s was around and will be around him.

I just want to say that now that I’ve finished reading this book, I am happy, glad, joyful, that I bought this in the first place, and not just downloaded an .epub copy of it. I want it to be in my bookshelf, together with all the other books that I love. It’s funny, frank, and poignant at the same time. It reminds us of how in choosing to be kind we will always be right. And that the world will not always be good to us. And that sometimes we will find life to be unfair, but no matter how hard it is, it is never completely hard to be okay to give up because of the people who love us, care for us, and believe in us.

I want to share to you my wonderful experience in reading this book so i put below the lines that moved my heart the most.

“Mom and dad would always say I was the most understanding little girl in the world. I don’t know about that, just that I understood there was no point in complaining. I’ve seen August after his surgeries: his little face all bandaged up and swollen, his tiny body full of IVs and tubes to keep him alive. After you’ve seen someone else going through that, it feels kind of crazy to complain over not getting the toy you had asked for, or your mom missing a school play. I knew this even when I was six years old. No one ever told it to me. I just knew it.” -Via, Wonder

That is Auggie’s sister speaking. I felt her. I felt her pain and longing. But I admire her, for her words also show how powerful love really is. It makes us patient and strong. It makes us capable of enduring and understanding. Because love is kind and it does not envy.

“so doesn’t that make the universe a giant lottery, then? you purchase a ticket when you’re born. and it’s all just random whether you get a good ticket or a bad ticket. it’s all just luck. my head swirls on this, but then softer thoughts soothe, like a flatted third on a major chord. no, no, it’s not all random, if it really was all random, the universe would abandon us completely. and the universe doesn’t. it takes care of its most fragile creations in ways we can’t see. like with the parents who adore you blindly. and the big sister who feels guilty for being human over you. and a little gravelly-voiced kid whose friends have left him over you. and even a pink-haired girl who carries your picture in her wallet. maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end.the universe takes care of all of its birds.” -Justin, Wonder

I’d like to think that the universe takes care of us in ways we cannot see. It’s easy to compare yourself to others and say that life’s unfair. But if we look at what we have, not on what we haven’t, maybe we’d realize life isn’t so unfair after all 🙂

“The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they’ve died. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you.” – Auggie, Wonder

This is Auggie’s explanation to one of Mr. Browne’s precept: “YOUR DEEDS ARE YOUR MONUMENTS“. I think I have to be reminded that it’s our deeds that people will remember us the most for. Maybe after some years that we’re gone they’ll forget that we became one of the board of directors of the school, or that we used to be the CEO of a company, but the good things we did to them, the times we were there for them, that they will always remember.

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.” – Mr. Tushman, Wonder

I’d like this to be one of my mantras in life. To remind me that it won’t hurt to be just a little kinder. Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed. Got it, Mr. Tushman! 🙂

“The best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average– though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.” – Mr. Tushman, Wonder

🙂

“The most important precept is to be aware of WHO WE ARE! “Who we are,” he said, underlining each word as he said it. “Who we are! Us! Right? What kind of people are we? What kind of person are you? Isn’t that the most important thing of all? Isn’t that the kind of question we should be asking ourselves all the time? “What kind of person am I? Learning who you are is what your are here to do.” – Mr. Browne, Wonder

Yes, I think that’s the most important thing of all 🙂 This book, indeed, reminds us of the things we know but somehow forgotten.

“Now that I look back, I don’t know why I was so stressed about it all this time. Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.” – Auggie, Wonder

Haha! Now I much agree with this because it also happens to me a lot. You know, we get so stressed worrying about something, when actually it isn’t so much of a big deal! =))

And Finally…

“AUGUST PULLMAN’S PRECEPT Everyone deserves a standing ovation because we all overcometh the world. –Auggie”

Someday, one day. 🙂

Book: Wonder

Author: R.J. Palacio

Genre: Fiction, Realistic Fiction, YA, Children’s Book

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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