Review: Wonder

‘My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.’

 

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things – eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside. But ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go.

 

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

All in all, I found this book very saccharine.

I’ve said it before (and I will probably say it again) – I do not like books which feel the need to write in the first person from different characters perspectives from chapter to chapter. And this is a prime example of doing it wrong. All the voices sounded exactly the same. Without the headers, I would have been completely clueless about who was talking – until they said they were his sister, etc. And the chapter where all capital letters were dropped to lower case did not help the cause.

The only character who developed at all was Miranda – who was hardly in it. She was also the only one I warmed to – but this could be because I’ve been through a similar situation to her (except for the Auggie part).

It was neither funny nor exciting, it just plowed from one experience to another, hitting the same point over and over again until I was rolling my eyes. I’m not underestimating the ordeal that life is for kids in Auggie’s condition. I feel like this book tried so hard to illustrate those difficulties, but then became too much about people ‘doing the right thing’. The good are rewarded and the bad are punished. As a reflection of life – which I feel this book should have been – it went a bit too Disney which detached me from the message.

I did enjoy the Star Wars references though. And there were several clever moments which worked completely under the Auggie-centricity to surprise the reader – the clues to the incident with Daisy and also Miranda’s parents. These served to redeem it to some extent, but not much.

The serious message – and perhaps lesson – was undermined by the sugary results and lack of character.

Advertisements