Thursday, November 7, 2013
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
August was born with physical abnormalities. He has a pretty severely deformed face, and because of that, his parents had always chosen to home school him. But now, he is older, and decided it was time he enter school...time to not be so sheltered. Wonder is about his first year in school. With friends. With cruel kids. With insecurities. With new discoveries.
There are moments that are tragic...and you can't help but feel for August, want to be there to protect him. But then, there are heroic moments. Agh. It's such a great book.
One aspect of the book that I appreciated was the perspective of August's sister, Via. I often think about Callie and what it's like for her to be Samantha's sister. What are the stresses she has because of Samantha? What are some of the feelings she has...without even really knowing it yet...because she is Samantha's sister? Yes, the book is fictional, but Via's perspective brought me a lot of comfort. She was honest in her frustrations at times, and her feeling less important...second priority...hurt feelings because her plans would have to be dropped to accommodate August. But, she also shares her deep love for him...her understanding of it all.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who, I just found out, has a brother with special needs. He cannot speak, walk, feed himself...some things very similar to Samantha. Her brother is now 26. I asked her how she felt growing up with him. She shared with me how she just adored him...sure, he was different and that meant that she had to help take care of him and whatnot....but she loved him so much all growing up...and still does.
My conversation with her AND reading this book brought me so much peace of mind. No matter who we are, we will have struggles. Some will be more obvious than others, but we all are connected through experiencing Life. I guess that's another reason I loved this book. By August's apparent, obvious, and perhaps extreme example ~ I was reminded that we ALL need to be more compassionate to others, all the time. We never know what people are carrying.
Excellent book. Everyone should read it.