Persuasion. How Green Was My Valley. The Fault in Our Stars. Cold Mountain. The first half of A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.
And then I read Wonder. And I’m inserting it right in between How Green Was My Valley and The Fault in Our Stars.
This is a list of books that made me cry. And yes, I cried more while reading Wonder than I did while reading TFIOS.
Wonder is a gem of a story about a boy named August Pullman who is 10 years old and going in to the 5th grade. Auggie has never been to a real school before, but has been homeschooled his entire life by his mother. And now his parents think it might be time for him to go out and be with other kids and learn all that he can. Auggie isn’t too excited about this plan. In fact, when he hears his father use the phrase “like a lamb to the slaughter…”, he’s even less enthused.
You see, Auggie isn’t like other kids. He was born with multiple chromosomal abnormalities, all affecting his face. He never once describes the extent of his facial problems, but throughout the book there are plenty of hints. He lets us know that his face is enough to make other children scream on the playground, and to cause people of all ages to be rude and unpleasant. But he and his family handle his situation with love and wit and grace, and its beautiful.
When Auggie gets to his new school, he learns how hard it is, not only to be the new kid at school, but to be the new kid that NOBODY wants to be friends with. The kid that the other kids are afraid to be near, afraid to touch. But a few kids do step up and show Auggie kindness, and soon realize that Auggie is a wonderful friend and someone worth knowing.
The story is told in alternating narratives — Auggie, his sister Via, Auggie’s new friends Summer and Jack, Via’s boyfriend, and Via’s former best friend. Its very well written — and very interesting to see the same situation presented from these different perspectives.
This is considered to be a children’s book. In fact, Bunnybean is reading it right now. But I think this is one of the rare books that really can’t be categorized. Its for everyone, all ages. I can’t think of anyone that wouldn’t gain from reading it. Its simply beautiful.
And yes, you’ll cry when you read it. But the tears aren’t as soul crushing as those from reading TFIOS. While I did shed some tears of sadness during the story, mostly my crying came from a place of happiness and pride that sometimes people (and specifically, children) are amazing.