August Pullman is a very sympathetic hero, earnest, hard-working, and sweet. Because of his severe facial deformities, he has been sheltered all of his life, home schooled by his mom, and petted by an extremely loving and supportive family. But now that Auggie is ten, his mother wants him to attend a "real" school with other kids. The transition is not an easy one, to say the least. But while persevering through the many, many tough situations that arise with his new peers (and their parents), Auggie somehow manages to find the good in his life, the wonder, and to keep an optimistic spirit.
Auggie's voice is young but direct and honest. The first time I read WONDER, though, I was jolted out of the story when the author switched narrators, having gone so long with the voice of Auggie. Then I dove back in and continued my reading of the book, with the different perspectives now being offered by the different characters. My second time through, I was expecting the change, so the transition was smoother, but I began to feel that the story might have been told as effectively from Auggie's POV alone. Yes, we learn how many of the secondary characters really feel, but do we really need to? Is the added perspective essential to this particular story? Or maybe the rhythm of the changing narrators could have been different--come sooner? Been more evenly woven in?
Despite my picky ruminating, WONDER is an extremely strong debut from this author.