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Review: “Wonder,” by R.J. Palacio


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I’ll be a bastard and say that I really didn’t care for this book at all, but who am I to dispute a million little kids who have fallen in love with it. It’s a do good, do right story about the victimized bully who makes out good, everyone puts him on their shoulders and marches him off into the sunset. What can I say? It understood its audience particularly well and the author wrote a feel good story for them. It works. The best part I can say about the book is that I like the way chapters are presented by the different individuals in the book. There is some honesty here and that’s a positive, and there are some characters to really like. The little girl named Sunshine or some other ridiculous name is a strong, individualistic kid. I can’t say the same for the hero. It’s kind of dull in a way, but of course, he’s incredibly smart, despite being born with this terrible birth defect that has deformed his face. It’s good for every nine year old who read this book that it is a book and not filled with actually drawings or photos of this real life deformity. We can read a book about a poor victimized kid and feel for him, but be honest, if we were standing next to him in line, we’ll feel pretty weird too. Beyond that the writing is pretty simple. Here’s the thing, I’m probably just jealous. I didn’t care for it, but I wish I had written it. (Some months later I went to see Palacio give an author talk. Oh man….)