“Wonder”

There are books I read and enjoy and then put away, only to move on to the next one. Then there are those all-too rare books that make such an indelible impression that I can’t resist returning to them time and again. Wonder, a novel by R.J. Palacio, is such a book. 

“You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.”415tM7ewFbL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

August (Auggie) Pullman is an ordinary 10-year old boy with an extraordinary face. After being homeschooled for years, Auggie is about to start fifth grade at a mainstream school but he’s worried: how will he fit in when he looks so different from everyone else?

Auggie has had 27 operations to correct facial anomalies he was born with, but he still has a face that makes people avert their eyes and kids calling him names like Freak, Gross-out, and Lizard face.

Auggie’s story unfolds through a series of point-of-view shifts, beginning in his head, then moving on to his sister, his friends, his sister’s friends, and then back to him. What emerges, is a beautifully told story of introspection and empathy.

…and the equally beautiful song that inspired the novel:

Wonder, by the American singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant.Unknown

As a teenager Merchant worked at a day camp for special needs children. There she met a girl born with seemingly insurmountable physical disabilities but who, thanks to a nurturing adoptive family, managed to make her way through life “gifted with love, with patience, and with faith.” Wonder is about that girl.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zpYFAzhAZY

Doctors have come from distant cities
Just to see me
Stand over my bed
Disbelieving what they’re seeing

They say I must be one of the wonders
God’s own creation
And as far as they can see they can offer
No explanation

Newspapers ask intimate questions
Want confessions
They reach into my head
To steal the glory of my story

They say I must be one of the wonders
God’s own creation
And as far as they can see they can offer
No explanation

O, I believe
Fate smiled and destiny
Laughed as she came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience and with faith
She’ll make her way

People see me
I’m a challenge to your balance
I’m over your heads
How I confound you and astound you
To know I must be one of the wonders
God’s own creation
And as far as you can see you can offer me
No explanation

O, I believe
Fate smiled and destiny
Laughed as she came to my cradle
Know this child will be able
Laughed as she came to my mother
Know this child will not suffer
Laughed as my body she lifted
Know this child will be gifted
With love, with patience and with faith
She’ll make her way.

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