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? (From Goodreads)
The story about August is told with several perspectives. Even though most chapters are through August`s eyes we also get to read the points of view of his sister, Via, her former childhood friend Miranda, her boyfriend Justin, and August`s new friends Jack and Summer. I liked most of these chapters, but maybe we didn`t need all of them. Especially the part with Justin seemed a bit redundant. On the other side Via`s chapter definitely brought an important layer to the book and most of the other chapters did too. It is so easy to judge everyone for their behaviour and reactions towards August but showing their points of view makes it a lot more difficult.
I think this book is important, well-written, easy-going, funny and beautiful all at the same time. As an adult reader I sometimes missed a little debth and severeness to the story but this is a book where older children are the main target group and it is also told through children´s eyes. It certainly has it´s tougher parts though where you get both angry and sad, but the heart, the smile and the hope is there all the time. For instance Auggies parents makes the story about his rather dramatic birth into a comedic story about a farting angry nurse and he wants to hear it over and over. I also did find myself thinking if children and some adults really could be this mean and ignorant and unfortunately they can. This is an important lesson for me as an adult and parent, to remember exactly how mean children can be without even realizing it or at least not thinking about the consequences. For children and I guess all of us this is also a story about the importance and value of being kind to each other.
These last few days after I read Wonder I`ve found myself really missing August. He is such a beautiful and strong character with the optimism and curiousness only a child can have. This little boy could definitely teach most of us a thing or two about life and what`s really important. He is a complicated character but not as broadened, cynical or deep as an adult nor should he be. None of the characters that tell the story are adults and inside these frames the story really works. When life is good, it is all happiness, and when it´s not it´s devastating. All that in between and ahead are for adults to think and worry about.
I read this book in norwegian as it was a gift from the norwegian publisher Gyldendal. I am happy about owning this book in norwegian because I`m looking forward to give this to my daughter to read when she is ready. The norwegian publisher has published this as more of a YA-book but I think it is mainly for older children. That being said this book could and should be read by a large group of people age not considered. I still think it´s important to say that this is a book suitable for children from the age of 9 I think. The author says on her web page that adults have a stronger emotional reaction to this book because we know life is not going to be easy for little Auggie later on but children find the story mostly funny and uplifting. Despite it all Auggie has a family that loves him and gives him whatever they can and he also has friends that got his back, and that´s more than a lot of "normal" children can say.