Wonder is a children’s novel by R J Palacio, the pen name of Raquel Jaramillo. It was originally published in 2012, but has been re-released in 2017 to coincide with the release of the movie of the same name based on the book.
The inspiration for the book happened when Palacio and her three-year-old son were waiting in line to buy ice cream. Her son noticed a young girl with facial birth defects and started to cry, so Palacio attempted to remove her son from the situation. Instead of making things better it made them worse.
The song “Wonder” by Natalie Merchant made Palacio realise that the incident could teach society a less, so she wrote the book under that title.
So, this is a book for children, but also a book for everyone. Adults will also be enchanted by the powerful, heart-wrenching story as it unfolds. While the emotions run high I never felt manipulated. Each of the characters is very plausible and the story itself never bends credibility. The book succeeds because Auggie, the main character, is funny and likeable – a young man with inner beauty even though his face is twisted by genetic abnormalities.
Interestingly, that while I cried several times in the book, the overwhelming impression is of a child fortunate enough to have been born into a wonderful loving family who support one another. So many marriages crumble and fall apart under the stress of a child with severe illnesses, but one gets the impression here that the parents may have been drawn closer together in solidarity with one another and their son, August, the hero of the story.
Overall it is moving, uplifting and memorable.
A wonderful stocking filler for anyone from about nine to ninety nine.
- Title: Wonder
- Author: R J Palacio
- Publisher: Puffin (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
- Year: 2017 (Movie edition)
- Format: Paperback (340 pages)
- Recommended Price: R180
- ISBN 9780552565974