R.J. Palacio's Inspiration for Wonder: Background information when reading Wonder

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by R.J. Palacio

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  • Published:
    Feb 2012, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Tamara Smith

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Beyond the Book:
R.J. Palacio's Inspiration for Wonder

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 Syndrome (after famous British ophthalmologist Edward Treacher Collins who recorded the description of this syndrome in a paper in 1900.) It is a hereditary condition caused by a defective protein called treacle. It affects ...

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