Wonder what it’s like?

RJ Palacio’s remarkable book called “Wonder” is published in its children’s version in Britain today and it should be a must-read for all children from about 8 upwards… and probably for all adults from 109 downwards!

I am not going to give away any of the plot – I try terribly hard with all books today not to read the blurb on the back or front covers or the inside pages because I find it ruins my enjoyment of the suspense in reading the text – but…

What I can say is that if (as I think you should) you are wondering what it would be like to go through childhood with an unusual-looking face, you would be hard pressed to find a better source of information and insight…

Not only does the author capture the mood and self-talk of the girls and boys in same class as the child in question but, much more sagely, she unlocks the agony, the loneliness and, not to put too fine a point on it, the terror that he experiences as he navigates his way through a school year.

His friends and classmates are brilliantly portrayed as they struggle with the usual – well, usual as in ‘par for the course’ if you have an unusual face – the usual mix of occasionally good but mostly bad behaviours. I mean ‘struggle’ too because the pressure of peers to not like and to ridicule is hard to resist.

You really feel as if you are in the boy’s shoes and you grow with him as he finds his character and develops his insights – like his 6th sense that someone he meets is doing the ‘look away thing’, a sense that any adult with a disfigurement will have in spades. Gradually, despite the terrorising, he builds his assertiveness, his inner strength, his banter and his excitement with life.

So wonder no more. Get it.

“Wonder” by RJ Palacio published by Random House.

And send me your reviews, please…

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3 thoughts on “Wonder what it’s like?

  1. Thanks, DLM, for this… and the answer is that I did not identify any major inaccuracies… but you may well be much better informed than I am about the genetics, eg, so I’d be glad to have the errors pointed out, please…

    I actually thought that the relatively few technical details about the facial condition in question were cleverly obscure, cleverly because their complexity didn’t allow the uninformed lay reader (ie: most people) to judge their accuracy.

    I’d appreciate your insights, please…

  2. Hi James:

    The inaccuracies I found upsetting include:

    Palacio refers to the scar above the mouth and into the nose as being caused by the palatal repair. This is wrong! It is formed from the lip repair, Not all kids born with cleft palate have a cleft lip, Simply put, a palatal repair does not cause a scar above the lip and into the nose.

    Further, the character August is said to eat like a tortoise and that his food comes shooting out of his mouth because of his cleft palate. Having a hole or fistula even after a palatal repair may cause some food to come out of the nose, as the hole exposes the nasal passages to the inside of the mouth, It does not, however, make food come sputtering out of the mouth, neither does it make a person eat like a tortoise!

    I’m surprised those comments did not offend more people with a cleft palate.

    That said, I did LOVE reading Palacio’s Wonder, and found its treatment of facial disfigurement full of beauty.

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