The book Wonder by R.J. Palacio takes us to additional layers of struggles that the central character Auggie goes through. Auggie has a genetic condition that makes his appearance unusual, to say the least. The beauty in reading such a book, or reading the voice of anybody in general, is that we take away any conscious or unconscious biases we may have towards how people look and just get to know the soul inside.
Wonder is at times heartwarming and other times heartbreaking. And it makes me wonder how I would react if I knew someone like him when I was at that age. Would I be able to see past outward appearances and know that his internal struggles are a lot like mine, and yet they could never really be just like mine?
It is beautiful how Auggie feels that all he is doing is just trying to be a kid, and only the distance of the reader could comprehend how brave he is simply for being who he is. His sister Via is a sweet character, flowing with love and affection towards Auggie while struggling on her own to find acceptance and a normal life.
Reading the book makes me want to seek out every adolescent like Auggie and give him or her a hug. It is a reminder for us to look inside and see who we are, how we see beauty, how we measure kindness, and how capable we are of empathy.
"Shall we make a new rule of life... Always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?" - J.M. Barrie, The Little White Bird