Author: R.J. Palacio
Genre/Audience: Middle grade fiction
Publication: Knopf, 2012
August Pullman, otherwise known as Auggie, will be entering fifth grade this year. He’s been home-schooled all his life… until now. Born with a severe facial deformity, Auggie’s parents have kept him out of school, but have decided it’s finally time for him to go to school and experience real life. Despite his unusual face, Auggie tries to be ordinary. He’s a normal boy who loves Star Wars and dogs, and he really wants to make new friends. After a life of teasing and scaring people away, Auggie hopes that the new kids will look past his deformity and see that he’s not so different after all.
Ohhh, Auggie. I just loved that little guy. This book is completely heartbreaking at times, but manages to be totally uplifting just moments later. My heart completely shattered each time Auggie realized he would never be completely like the other kids. My heart also soared at the times Auggie realized that was okay.
This book alternates narrators which was pretty cool, because I really enjoyed reading about Auggie from other people’s perspectives, like his sister and classmates. I have to say, though, my favorite chapters were the ones from Auggie’s perspective. His voice was so incredibly real to me. It’s hard to believe a grown woman could capture the voice of a 10 year old boy so vividly and realistically, but I was totally blown away by her ability to do just that.
Bullying just disgusts me. I literally feel like crying when I see stuff like this go down, and this book fired me right up! I hated Julian, the little jerk who relentlessly picked on Auggie and laughed right in his face. I hated him not only because of his horrendous attitude and terrible demeanor, but I hated him for the way he made Auggie feel – like he was less than. While I felt so angry reading the parts involving Julian, I felt equally happy reading about the kids who did love Auggie, and who befriended him despite his deformity. This book was truly a roller coaster of ups and downs. One minute I would totally think humanity was terrible, then the next I would be reminded that there is still good in this world, and lots of it, if you’re looking in the right places, and surround yourself with the right people.
I think this book speaks measures on the impact that bullying can have on people. I think it will also make readers realize that it is truly not okay to judge others. I think that all kids, and all adults too, for that matter, could benefit from reading Auggie’s story. It shows you that inside, we are all humans, even if we don’t look the same, act the same, believe the same, etc. It shows you that being a bully doesn’t make you the bigger person – it makes you the smaller person.
Truly, EVERYONE, adults and kids alike, should read this book.
My Rating: 5/5