Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Review: Wonder by R.J.Palacio

I don't very often write book reviews on here: this is partly because I read so many books that it would mean I'd barely write about anything else. It is also partly because I appreciate that not everyone enjoys reading almost exclusively children's and young adult fiction. But you know how every now and then you read a book which is so wonderful that it changes you? This was one of those books.

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, is about a boy with severe facial disfigurement. It's told from his perspective and that of other people around him. In the beginning of the book he's never been to school before, but then he starts middle school. I didn't want to read this book for a while, because I didn't like the cover and it sounded kind of depressing. But it's not. It's funny and sad and uplifting.

All of the characters in the book are completely believeable, and there's a strong message running throughout the book to choose kindness. This really resonated with me, because this past year, for the first time in my life, I see kindness as the most important thing. In fact, when I recently came to the 'other achievements' section on an application form, it's what I wanted to write: this year I have learnt to be kind.

It's funny, because it's not something which is ever really valued by society: being kind won't necessarily win you any awards, or other people's respect. But reading this book is the first time I've really seen the message written down (besides in religious texts): cultivate kindness.

After having read this book over the past 24 hours I am left feeling humbled and with a sense of how beautiful life is. I implore you to read it, too.

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