The Life of Bon: Bon's Book Club January: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bon's Book Club January: Wonder by R.J. Palacio


Every month we read a book.  On the selected day, we talk about it. (Generally the last Thursday of the month).  I will do my darndest to post questions ahead of time so that you can be thinking of possible discussion topics as you read.

Join in for whatever books you can.  I know you are all busy, and you might not be able to read all the books. (Or be interested in reading all the books!)  Read what you want and comment on what you want.  Some readers write their own review on their blog and then link up to it, others just write their thoughts in the comments- it's up to you!  If you write your own post and link up, please slap the image above on your post! Grazi!


+ What did you think of Palacio's style of point of view- switching up who was telling the story so often?  What did you like and not like about it?
+ Did you read The Julian chapters?  Did you like them?
+ Who was your favorite minor character? (Not Auggie)

+ What did Palacio do in telling this story to make it "real" for you?
+ How did Wonder affect you emotionally?

This month my book club co-host is Casie.  Here our Casie's thoughts on the book:

Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing this book discussion with me! I'm very honored to be "hanging" with you. 

It took me two days to read Wonder. The chapters are short, the print isn't tiny, and it gets you sucked in from the beginning instead of taking a while to build up the characters like most books do. I loved the simpleness of it and how it tugged my emotions. I really felt like I was hanging out with some kids who were telling me their story. One of my favorite parts was when August's sister's boyfriend stood up for August's friend, Jack, when a couple of boys teased him for being friends with a "deformed freak". Wonder is a great book, for children and adults, about what it's like to be a child and a friend, how how hard it is to be teased and judged based on your appearance, and sticking up for others. This kid, Auggie, made me laugh and cry. He reminded me to look past the appearance and into the person, and to be hopeful that others will do the same for me.  

My children will read Wonder when they're a bit older. I bought it for the book exchange my family does among the kids for Christmas- Ty is in 6th grade. I've recommended it to other mothers and single women. A story that reminds us to be caring is one everyone should read. 

And... here are my thoughts:

I didn't know that the book was told from so many different point of views until I finished Auggie's first section and the POV switched.  At first I was a little bugged, but I feel like Palacio did a really good job of this.  It gave extra depth and understanding to the book that we could see it from so many different perspectives.  I especially loved when it switched to the point of view of Via, Auggie's sister.  I had been so absorbed with everything Auggie experienced and then suddenly I was made aware of the struggles from the other side, too.  It was this ah-ha moment of Auggie is not the only one in the world with problems.  Makes me want to open my eyes more to those around me instead of being absorbed in my own problems.

My one issue I had with the point of views is that I felt like they were all still the same voice.  Auggie sounded just like Jack.  Via sounded just like Miranda.  I understand the difficulty of switching the voice for all the characters so I'm not too hung up on it, but I did notice.

One thing I loved about the book is that the whole time I was reading it I was bracing myself for the big, awful thing that was going to happen any minute.  The story is about a boy with a facial deformity going to school for the first time.  So I just waited and waited for the kids to do their terrible, cruel prank or whatever was going to happen.  And then when the book ended with everyone standing up for him and being nice to him, I was strangely overwhelmed.  There was no big "mean thing" that the kids did to him.  The book wasn't about kids being mean, it was about kids being nice.  I loved it.

I also really really loved the Julian chapters at the end.  I appreciated that Palacio tried to get us inside the head of the "villian" instead of keeping him just a one dimensional bad guy. (Although the voice for Julian drove me crazy!)  Julian's grandma was beautiful and again, I just loved the overall message of kindness and goodness that the book taught.  After reading the Julian chapters I was very interested in Julian's mom's perspective- now that would have been interesting.  Come on, Palacio, release more chapters!

Oh- I also loved the English teacher and all of his precepts.  English teachers are the bomb, aren't they?  My favorite one was "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind."

AND of course I loved the principal's speech at the end.  Some parts I highlighted-
"Shall we make a new rule of life... always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?  Because it's not enough to be kind.  One should be kinder than needed.  Why I love that line, that concept, is that it reminds me that we carry with us, as human beings, not just the capacity to be kind, but the very choice of kindness."

"Greatness lies not in being strong but in the right using of strength... He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts."

This book really stuck with me.  When I was nearing the end I started reading slower because I was trying to draw out the experience- that's how much I loved it.  It inspired me and continues to inspire me to choose kind.  In fact, the book was the basis for my New Year's resolution this year.

I can't wait to hear your thoughts!  Leave a comment or if you wrote your own review, link it up!  Both Casie and I will be responding to comments as well as reading your posts that you link up and responding to those.  Let's talk book!

February's book is My Story by Elizabeth Smart.  It is fascinating!  
I can't wait to talk about it with all of you.  
Email me at if you are interested in co-hosting book club for February.

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