Personal Narratives

‘Wonder’ has left a lasting impact on me

May 18, 2023

By Nia Locier
Staff Writer

If I had to choose one book that has impacted me more than any others, it would certainly be “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio.

This children’s novel is about a young boy named Auggie who was born with a condition called Treacher Collins syndrome. This condition is a genetic condition that affects the way the face develops, especially the cheekbones, jaws, ears and eyelids

I read this book in 2018 as a fourth grade reading assignment, and I am so glad it was required reading for my class. 

This book especially affected me because I am sympathetic and strive to see the world from others’ perspectives. To know there are real people in the world that have to go through something similar to what Auggie went through breaks my heart.

In this book, Auggie was a new student starting fifth grade at Beecher Prep, an upscale school in a suburb of Manhattan called North River Heights.

Auggie was not thrilled to start in a new school after being home-schooled his whole life. He had an astronaut helmet to cover his face because his appearance made him feel insecure. However, his mother did not allow him to wear it to school because she wanted him to overcome his fear. 

It is impossible not to be changed for the better after reading a book like “Wonder.”

Walking into school, Auggie’s peers made faces at him. They moved and shoved to get away from him. 

Their reactions immediately made Auggie feel isolated and lonely. Then, three students were assigned to give Auggie a tour of the school. During this time, Auggie’s peers continued to make fun of him and wreck his confidence. 

Well aware of his condition, Auggie was convinced that he was unlovable. His mom tried to make him feel better by explaining that his condition was not his fault, but that did not change his hurt feelings. 

At school, Auggie ate lunch by himself a few times, and, fortunately, the mean kids eventually came around and realized that being different isn’t always a bad thing. Auggie ended up becoming well-liked at Beecher Prep, ending the year with success. He made friends and was eventually treated like the rest of the kids at school. 

It is impossible not to be changed for the better after reading a book like “Wonder.” It reminded me that in life, we all go through struggles and that there is more than one way to be “cool.” We don’t all need to wear the same clothes or look the same to fit in. 

Auggie shows readers that one should never feel ashamed of themselves or preoccupied with their insecurities. Regardless of one’s appearance or abilities, everyone deserves to be respected and everybody’s life is richer when they are surrounded by accepting friends. 

After reading “Wonder,” I came across this meaningful quote by Dr. Seuss: “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” I have taken Auggie’s story and this quote to heart, as I have embraced the notion that being different is okay, and individuality should always be celebrated. 

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