Audiobook Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

After reading/listening to The Dead Fathers Club, which ruined all audiobooks for me, Wonder was the second one I could get through. It was a rough start, but I ended up really enjoying it.

Wonder

Title: Wonder

Author: R.J. Palacio

Reader: Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, and Diana Steele

The Wonder audiobook is narrated by three different people. The person who narrated the main character, Auggie Pullman, is a woman, and it is pretty obvious that she is not a young boy but rather a woman attempting to sound like a young boy. At first, I found it really difficult to get used to her voice because she purposely has a slight lisp and a scratchy voice. Honestly, I didn’t think I would be able to force myself to listen to the entire thing for eight hours, but I was drawn in by the story and I couldn’t stop listening. Eventually, I got used to her voice – I think it probably helped that it changed between the narrators and points of view about every disc and a half so I didn’t get too irritated. By the end of the audiobook, however, I found myself actually enjoying her voice; not sure how that happened.

While there are only three narrators, we get a total of six different perspectives throughout the book, and each of their voices was unique to me. Occasionally you could tell that it was the same narrator, but for the most part, their voices were different but not in such a way that it was weird. In between The Dead Fathers Club and Wonder, I tried several different audiobooks but couldn’t get more than one drive to work through them. Several of them had readers that tried too hard to make the voices distinct – a super rough, scratchy voice for an old man, etc.

As for the book, I liked the story a lot. You might have seen my Quote Quoted post where I talked about one of the parts that really hit home for me. I could relate to a lot of this book, and I think the lesson being taught in the book is something that everyone should read. My only issue with this book was the ending. To me, the ending of this book was too perfect. For a novel about a young boy’s struggles with bullying that felt authentic and real, the ending felt wrong. Real life isn’t like that. It isn’t tied up with a cute little bow. Everyone doesn’t just suddenly realize that just because you look different on the outside, you’re super cool and interesting on the inside. It’d be nice if that happened, but it doesn’t. I really loved how Palacio handled everything in the book when it came to how mean people can be, the horrible things they’ll do or say, and how it feels to be the one on the receiving end of all of this crap, but the end disappointed me. Other than that, great book and great audiobook. Definitely recommended.

Quote Quoted: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

WonderI just finished the audiobook for Wonder by R.J. Palacio this morning, and there was a quote that I wanted to talk about here. Just in case you don’t know what Wonder is about, I’ll give a little synopsis.

August has a facial deformity. Until now, he’s been homeschooled, but his parents decide that it is time for him to start real school, so they enroll him and the book follows his year in the fifth grade. Of course, starting school for the first time is hard enough, but when you look different, kids can be mean. Auggie goes through a lot of horrible things, but he makes some friends along the way.

The first day I showed up at school with the hearing aids, I thought kids would make a big deal about it. But no one did. Summer was glad I could hear better, and Jack said it made me look like an FBI agent or something. But that was it. Mr. Browne asked me about it in English class, but it wasn’t like, what the heck is that thing on your head?! It was more like, “If you ever need me to repeat something, Auggie, make sure you tell me, okay?

Now that I look back, I don’t know why I was so stressed about it all this time. Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing. – Page 215

You may have noticed in my blog picture that I don’t have any hair. Now, I’m not comparing alopecia to a facial deformity, but I have first-hand experience with how mean kids (and adults) can be. I’ve had a lot of people stare at me and say things and point and ask rude questions. My confidence level is a lot higher than it used to be (which was really, really low). Most of you probably don’t know that up until about three years ago, I used to wear hats all the time (like even if I slept over at a friend’s house). Finally, FINALLY, I accepted that this is who I am, and if you didn’t like it, I didn’t need you in my life. I love not having hair for a lot of reasons (that I won’t go into unless you want me to). When I heard this quote in the book, it was like, “YES! I know exactly how that feels.” I mean, he even mentions his teacher didn’t ask what the thing on his head was! Haha. I look back on what I thought would happen before I took off my hat for good, and while it has been hard sometimes, overall people have been great. You really do worry way too much about something that is just nothing.