Here’s what I think: the only reason I’m not ordinary is that no one else sees me that way.
Interestingly enough, we spent the majority of this book coming to and falling away from this same thought: that one is ordinary until others decide he isn’t.
Over the course of one school year, Wonder tells the story of August Pullman, a young boy born with a facial difference that, until now, prevented him from attending school.
As an adult, I didn’t expect to relate so much to a ten-year-old boy struggling through fifth grade with a face others perceived as wickedly deformed. But I did. I, weirdly enough, did.
Cruelty is a universal tragedy. Even in the tiniest of doses, it can stop the heart in your chest. It can puncture your lungs. It can seep its way through a fold in your brain and take from you every good moment and memory. Make you forget life was perfectly fine before that one second someone or something terrible drew a line between sanity and complete lunacy.
The thing about cruelty, is for some, it’s a regular occurrence. You find it’s a part of who you are and you forget life keeps moving, even if you’re okay, you’re happy, nothing’s come to pull you down today.
August Pullman is a warrior. I think the author did an incredible job capturing the immense responsibility that comes with navigating life when you don’t look like everyone else. Because it is a responsibility of sorts, to not let it get you down, to ignore the negativity and try to find the light somewhere in this giant, endless macrocosm. It’s heavy, and, at times, it feels impossible to carry. She showed us all these moments–the weak ones, the triumphant ones, the hopeless ones.
She really understood the frustration of it. This irritability. It tore away at August until he was snapping at his mother for no good reason. Trying to brush off a hard day and finding his family in the crossfire. It made August very human to me.
I liked the dramatic contrast between who he appeared to be on the outside (alien-like) verses who he was on the inside. Because he was the most human deep in his core. He was more human than anyone else even though he was the farthest from normal in the tradition of human appearance.
The people around him went to the extremist measures to make sure he felt normal, but I think in doing so, they only succeeded in making him feel farther away from the norm. In performing these odd dances around him to eradicate his sense of misplacement, they appeared more unrealistic than he ever had.
For me, the book didn’t really pick up until the second point of view was introduced–his sister, Via’s. I wasn’t expecting to switch heads, but I really liked what Via brought to the table–her own tragedy.
Via was a complex character in her own. The first few paragraphs in her voice really hit me. Wise beyond her years, I think Via had the most to learn about herself, and I liked her character arc best. It went more backwards than it did forwards, but she ended up learning a very valuable lesson about being human, and not having to sacrifice the validity of her battles because August is fighting ones that seem larger in the grander scheme of things.
August is the Sun. Me and Mom and Dad are planets orbiting the Sun. The rest of our family and friends are asteroids and comets floating around the planets orbiting the sun.
The writing was beyond excellent. Beautiful moments. Great description. It never fell off into too much or too little, and it didn’t try to be more than it was. It also didn’t take advantage of the younger voice to get away with lackadaisical prose, sloppy dialogue, etc. There was a problem with every teacher starting their addresses to the students with “okay so” but that only lasted for a chapter. It didn’t matter in the largeness of this book.
There was just the right amount of speculation to make it transcend middle grade fiction. It had moments where it soared to new heights and rivaled fiction for all ages.
maybe it is a letter, but the universe makes it all even out in the end. the universe takes care of all its birds.
And there was good symbolism. It wasn’t deeply obvious, but it was something younger kids could pick up on if they paid enough attention.
Sometimes you don’t have to mean to hurt someone to hurt someone.
A book I recommend to all walks of life with strong lessons to be learned by any human seeking complete humanity.