“You are a Wonder, Auggie”

By Sophearith Dareth

©c u p r i k o r n/2015/licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Admittedly, I used to be judgemental and very often judged people based on how they look. And, I have no excuse. I was judgemental not because I was young and inexperienced. I was judgemental because I was judgemental.

Over the years, I have come to realize that my behavior was unacceptable. However, I consciously discovered that my way of thinking was starting to change after I read one of the most remarkable and well-written books I have ever read: Wonder, by R.J Palacio.

Wonder is a story about a boy named August Pullman who was born with a facial deformity. However, as the book publisher describes it, “Auggie is just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face”. This undeniably beautiful story details his journey into a public school called Beecher Prep and his encounters with other kids, friends and bullies.

Personally, this particular work of fiction is distinctly touching and astonishingly inspiring. Presumably, you might think I am exaggerating. Nevertheless, this is my impression and how I would describe this book.

It reminds me that at the end of the day, kindness is the cure to the hatred that we clench within ourselves. In the book one of my favorite characters, Mr. Tushman said “Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness”. I can’t help but thoroughly agree with what he said.

Auggie has the courage to step out into the world and attend school in fifth grade. Before that, he was homeschooled. It was not about the way he looks at all, but how many surgeries he has had and how he had to take time to recover from each one . Auggie has the kindness that eventually draws everyone close to him. He is also loyal to his friends and, to me, seems a very forgiving young boy. His characteristics are unique; however, from time to time he also struggles, at times he also has insecurities. And these are the things that make Auggie an exceptionally extraordinary person to me. That’s also what makes him an ordinary human being that he always considers himself to be as well.

Earlier this year, I came to discover that Wonder is getting a movie and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m quite satisfied with the casting and I hope that the movie will stick to the storyline of the book. But overall, I’m looking forward to this movie.

I would highly recommend this book to people of all ages, particularly young people. This fiction has taught me a lot of important lessons, like to reconstruct my way of thinking, and most importantly it is just an exceptionally great book with a fascinating storyline.

And if I have successfully convinced you to read this book, or go to see this movie in November, just don’t forget to take a box of tissues with you.

To all the Wonders out there, see you in the next post.

Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.

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