Narrators: Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd
Source: Sacramento Library
Rating: 9 out of 10
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Length: 8 hours, 6 minutes
Pages: 320 (print version)
Challenges: 2012 Audio Book Challenge
Synopsis (from the Book Description): August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?
Overall Impression: I heard about Wonder through an interview with the author on NPR. She wrote the book after she had an experience where her she didn’t respond as she would have hoped when she and her daughter saw someone with a facial deformity. The resulting book is just…wonderful. There is so much compassion and love wrapped up in Wonder. One of my favorite themes in all of literature is the underdog — and Auggie is the underdog of the best kind. While he’s not perfect, and he struggles quite a bit, he so utterly likeble and you want him to succeed SOBAD. This novel is incredibly touching, and had me crying on more than one occasion — both because of the cruelty shown toward Auggie, and the unexpected beautiful kindness. One of Auggie’s teachers quotes Dr. Wayne Dyer: “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” Character after character learns this lesson throughout the book — and so does the reader.
The whole book was uplifting and very special. I highly recommend it.
Positives: What a great message — I want to share this with every kid and adult I know!
Negatives: I felt like sometimes the kids in the book seemed younger than ten…and then older than ten. And the ending was a little to Disney — things wrapped up a little too neatly for my taste.
Narration: I wished Wonder had just one or two narrators. Diana Steele did a great job with Auggie’s kid voice, but all of the other kids and adults had adult voices. So Auggie always seemed younger than everyone else. My recommendation is to pick up the paper novel instead of the audio book.
Other books I’ve read by RJ Palacio: none
Other blogger opinions:
KellyVision: “I know it’s a total cliche, but this is the kind of book that changes lives and definitely the kind of book that turns me into a crazy person and start brandishing it at strangers, saying, ‘GUYS. READ THIS. READ THIS NOW.’”
Stephanie’s Written Word: “In writing Wonder it seems that Palacio was looking for a way to say I’m sorry to that little girl and I think that her words speak volumes.”