Winner of the BookBrowse 2012 Best Book for Younger Readers Award
I am sitting in my local bakery right now and there is a young man here. He is different from me. He looks different and sounds different. And I find myself wanting to gaze over at him while, at the same time, wanting to avert my eyes. Not because I am afraid, nor because I am repelled, but because I don't know how to respond... The way I feel is complicated.
R.J. Palacio's debut novel, Wonder
, examines these kinds of complex emotions in a way that is strikingly simple. I don't mean that it is an easy book. It is not. And I don't mean that its structure is plain or undemanding. It is neither. Palacio has created a story that spans the 5th grade year in the life of Auggie Pullman. Of course Auggie's life is anything but simple. He has undergone 27 surgeries on his face and still won't...
Beyond the Book
Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
This is Auggie's statement on page one of Wonder
about the appearance of his face. R.J. Palacio (whose real name is Raquel Jaramillo... Palacio is her mother's last name) makes a very conscious choice not to explore Auggie's disfigurement head-on, and I think it's a good one. Instead, she allows the reader to create her own images and then, very slowly and from a slanted sort of angle, Palacio gives details. Because at the heart of issue is, well, Auggie's heart, and that is all that matters.
I don't want to dishonor Palacio's choice, but I will give you a bit of information about Auggie's condition. He has something called Mandibulofacial Dysostosis, which is more typically known as Treacher Collins...