It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, especially about my book project, but I’ve just started back at school. My first two weeks as a college sophomore have been action packed (or at least assignment-packed)! This next book was one I have been really excited about and is to become a movie in theaters November 17. I advise all to go see it, but (the inner bookworm in me cannot resist) you should definitely read it beforehand. This book was extremely emotional for me, and I’ll be surprised if I can get through writing about it without letting out a tear of two (Lord knows I let out my share while reading it). As I’ve ticked off another book on my list, I can definitely see a change in myself. These books are thought-provoking, and this last book can be summarized as just that.
“You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder.”
-R.J. Palacio, Wonder
Wonder by R. J. Palacio is about a 10-year-old boy, August, who has had 20+ surgeries on his body for his various medical conditions. His surgeries and his medical conditions have left very physical impressions upon his face. To sum it up, his face is very disfigured. This has obviously made going in public very difficult for him as you never know how people will react. The story revolves around August or “Auggie” and his experience with attending school for the first time in his life. The book goes on to show how looks, gestures, or even comments affected Auggie. More importantly, it shows how Auggie has affected those he’s around. It’s an important lesson on the kindness of others and how you treat people, regardless of their appearance or circumstance.
“Here’s what I think: the only reason I’m not ordinary is that no one else sees me that way.”
―R.J. Palacio, Wonder
Kindness. It’s such a basic thing that we assume everyone possesses. But they don’t have it. Not everyone is kind. Not everyone is nice. Not everyone does the good thing. I think we know this, but we avoid looking too closely at it. We try to see the best in everyone, and for the most part, that’s a good thing. But there are truly mean people in the world. True bad people to whom giving “the benefit of the doubt” just doesn’t cut it. R. J. Palacio’s Wonder is well-rounded with all types of people, including these. Some people are good, genuinely good. Some have kindness within them; they just need to be reminded of the fact, whether it be verbal or by a hard-won lesson. Others are just mean. They’re just mean-spirited people who can never seem to be lifted up, and they don’t seem to want to be either. And then there’s Auggie. He’s one of those people who inspires kindness. With all the comments and looks he receives, he seems to always be this kind kid. He’s not bitter or angry all the time. He understands the way he looks, and he accepts it! He’s still kind, even to some who are not kind to him. It inspires the internal question: if he can face what he does everyday and still show kindness to those who do and do not deserve it, why can’t you?
“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.”
― R.J. Palacio, Wonder
This book! If I’m being perfectly honest, I fell completely in love with this book! It is supposedly a children’s book, but its message hit home with me at 19 years old. From the start, I felt fiercely protective of Auggie, and I dared anyone to make him uncomfortable (because there was a lot I could do about it). While reading it, I woke my friend (who was sleeping in my dorm room at the time) up from a nap, yelling at the book as if I could change the words written on the page (Needless to say, she was not enthused). Wonder definitely inspires many emotions, and it’s a book that, I believe, should be required for children (or anyone) to read. It puts things in a perspective for you. Things that you might not have considered before. It forces you to look at yourself and how you react to someone who is vastly different from you, whether in appearance or whatever else. Are your reactions hurting someone? Should you have said that? Should have done that? It makes you question yourself but in a way that helps to construct a better you.
“The things we do outlast our mortality. The things we do are like monuments that people build to honor heroes after they’ve died. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs. Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you.”
― R. J. Palacio, Wonder
This was definitely a heart-warming book (thanks BuzzFeed), and I hope all of you get a chance to read this book! If not, at least go see the movie this November (*exasperated eye roll*). It jerks the tears from your eyes and forces the watery smiles upon your lips. It gives you hope that there are more kind than unkind people in the world. I grew attached to Auggie and now consider him a friend among my many others (purely fictional, of course). You did it again, Buzzfeed: Wonder truly is a wonder.