Monday, July 16, 2012


"You make me want to be a better man."

Isn't that a line from some movie?

My female friends tell me that the notion of being a "good person" is strictly a guy thing.

Evidently, women don't think in those terms. Is that true? If so, I guess it'll be lost on the fairer sex when I proclaim that Wonder makes me want to be a better man.

Wonder, the powerful first novel written by R. J. Palacio, is one of those books that changes the way you see the world.

The publisher's description reads, "August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school-until now.  He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be.  The thing is Auggie's just and ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face.  But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?"

For the past two years I had a child in my class with facial deformities that often took strangers by surprise.  Their audible gasps and sympathetic glances signaled that he was not an ordinary kid. But like Auggie's family I saw this boy for who he was.  His talents, his academic strengths and weaknesses, his stubborn personality, his mischievous side, the anticipatory glint he got in his eye when he was waiting for me to chase him on the playground, his frustrations and his incredible strength. He soldiers on no matter the obstacles.

In the book Auggie has a teacher who believes in him. It seems that this is the character I should most associate with.  However, the character who resonates most is Auggie's sister's boyfriend.

This guy questions the world.  He struggles to come to terms with injustices and then has an epiphany which leads to the most beautiful understanding of what it means to be human.  It is a dynamic, moving piece of writing. That alone is worth the investment.

I hope one day I can contribute something this gorgeous to the world.


Betsy Brock said...

oh, what a beautiful post. I'm always touched by your tender, wise teacher's heart. :) You are doing something wonderful for the child at a time!

Hilary said...

It sounds intriguing, Gary. I'll have to look into it.

Angella Lister said...

thank you for this, gary. i will have to order it. it reminds me of my favorite children's book, Thank You, Mr. Falker. Whenever I read that book to my children, I found myself weeping from the absolute humanity of it. this book sounds like something special too.

WAT said...

Hey Gary, I just wanna say greetings and hello to a real cool fellow.

Arielle Bair (Becker) said...

I want I check out this book. Sounds interesting and I love when people recommend books that inspire or touch them deeply. Im not sure I agree that only men have that "wanting to be a better man" mentality - I can certainly relate to it! Maybe your female friends know that feeling but aren't sure how to word it...or maybe they just havent been touched by something so deeply yet. :-)

Arielle Bair (Becker) said...

Sorry for the of the iPhone... :-/

Gary said...

Hi All - If you read the book please share your thoughts.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

have been completely out of the blogosphere the last couple months and playing a little catch up.

thanks so much for the head's up about wonder. i look forward to reading it sounds like a profound yet totally accessible book.

i have to agree with your reader airelle in that i don't think wanting to be a 'good person' is a guy thing - i myself think in terms of wanting to be a 'good person' ....and hey i am female and a gary friend!!

tasha and i read a chapter book (for kids) for kids this summer that i think you would enjoy and i heartily recommend it, it is also set in a fifth grade class and it is also a first novel - it is called 'because of mr. terupt' and by rob buyea.

off to check out if the library has wonder and to put it on hold if they do!

Ms.M said...

Sounds like such a wonderful book. Thank you for sharing.


Gary said...

Kimy - I noticed your absence and smiled to see your comment. I have added your book suggestion to my Goodreads "to read" list. It looks like something I would appreciate.

I hope you enjoy Wonder. It is so good.

Ms. M. - I thought Wonder was incredible. I wish I had written it.


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