Auggie and Me by R.J. Palacio – Book Review

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This is kind of a sequel to Wonder, but not really. The author explains at the start that she never intends to follow Auggie on his journey for many reasons, including that many teachers use Wonder as a springboard into creative writing exercises that allow students to discover the many different paths Auggie and his friends go on. Instead, she wanted to look at three characters who only play small roles in the first book and investigate the types of journeys they are going on.

First is Julian, the nasty bully. His story takes him to his grandmother’s house in Paris, where she tells him a story from World War Two that causes Julian to rethink his attitude. I felt like certainly Julian needed someone to give him a kick up the bum, but this seemed like major overkill. Mind you, perhaps that is just the point – that it might take more than you’d expect to get through to some people. Second is Christopher, Auggie’s old friend who moved away, and who we know of, but don’t really spend any time with. Christopher is dealing with the guilt that he feels over an accident his mother had – she survived, but he is aware of how close it could have been, and finds it difficult to find his place in all of this. I liked this story – the feeling of being out of depth, and wanting to change things, and not knowing how to deal with divorce and so much else. Finally, there is Charlotte, who is one of the three kids chosen to buddy with Auggie by the principal, and who stays friendly but distant from him. She’s trying to deal with the world of girls and friendships, and how things can seem to be totally different within a few moments. This one I think I related to the most, remembering school and the want and need to be liked whilst still trying to be true to yourself.

This is a nice collection of stories and it was nice to be back in their world briefly.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio – Book Review

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Auggie is about to start school. That’s not that unusual – what is unusual is that Auggie is ten, and this is the first school he’s gone to. Most of his childhood, he has been in and out of hospital having treatments for a condition that he was born with – a condition that means he is facially disfigured. Going to school means meeting people and being looked at and having to deal with so many fears.

Palacio takes us on the journey of Auggie from several points of view – Auggie’s, of course, then there is his sister Via, then Summer and Jack, new friends from school, and others. It’s mostly fabulous, a really great read that deals with fears and school and bullying and confusion, and apart from the final scene that is really a bit cringeworthy really, it is great. I know this has been a hugely popular book with younger readers, and with very good reason.