Blurb: My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
Author: R. J. Palacio
Publisher: Corgi, an imprint of Penguin Random House
Genre: Fiction, Children’s
This book follows August’s, or Auggie’s, journey from being homeschooled and staying around the family to moving to a real school and having to deal with all that that entails. In this story, we are reminded that while kids can be quite nasty to each other, there is always room for growth and that by spending time with people who are different to themselves they are able to handle much more mature subjects than we often give them credit for.
Firstly, I really loved Auggie. He was such a sweet character who really took everything in his stride when it came to dealing with the other kids at school and the things that they would say about him. I’m sure that we’ve all had those moments where someone manages to upset us but we hold it in so they can’t see the impact that they’ve had on us – this scene in particular with Jack Will really touched me as the concept is so relatable. I also loved how realistic Via was. I appreciated that there was an entire section of the book dedicated to her feelings and explaining how she felt on the outside even though, rationally, she knew that her family loved her just as much as her brother. The realistic characters don’t stop there, Miranda (having a new setting change you and your school relationships) and the Pullmans (Isabel and Nate) were just as well written and developed. Going back to the fact that this book is split into different sections and told by different characters, I really liked this format. It allowed us to get a feel for the different characters and how their points of view concerning their relationship with Auggie all contributed to the main plot. Additionally, I loved how emotional this book was. Certain scenes (I won’t spoil them) caught me having a little cry – something that I always associate with a good book!
However, I disliked that at some points the actual plot felt quite vague, almost as if we were just watching time pass for the family. While the overarching plot is Auggie’s transition into a more ‘normal’ life but at points, we weren’t seeing many key advancements. This didn’t take away from the uplifting and heart-warming message of the book, or from how much I enjoyed it.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes to champion the ‘underdog’ or who doesn’t mind a bit of a cry with their book! A truly enjoyable and uplifting read, making us realise that tolerance and understanding are not much to ask at all.
Have you read this book? Or maybe you’ve seen the movie? Did you enjoy it? I loved the film (I finally got around to watching it 😂) Have you read anything else by this author? What did you think?