Narrated by Diana Steele, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd
Produced by Brilliance Audio
About the Book:
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school – until now. He’s about to enter fifth 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 an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?
R. J. Palacio has crafted an uplifting novel full of wonderfully realistic family interactions, lively school scenes, and writing that shines with spare emotional power.
This is officially the very first audio book I have listened to from start to finish. I’ve never been a fan of audio; being a fast reader, I tire quickly with the slow pace and before too long, I’ve tuned out and lost track of the story. Not so with this one. For a start, I was able to speed up the narration, which resolved my main gripe about audio books. Previously, I had only ever tried them on CD, but by listening through an app, I had more flexibility with this. What hooked me though, was the narration of Wonder. It’s outstanding. With three narrators, there was a lot of scope for different voices for each of the characters and their conversations with each other. It was so entertaining, so moving at times, and often funny. I actually own a paperback copy of Wonder as well, but I wasn’t at all tempted to read it instead of listening. As far as first experiences go, this one gets two thumbs up. I’m certain I enjoyed this story all the more as an audio than I would have if I’d just read it, and that’s all due to the stellar performance by the three narrators.
Now, onto the actual story. Wonder is amazing. It truly is. All three of my children have read this novel as a class in their final year of primary school, and now that I’ve read it as well, I am so glad for this! Universal messages about kindness, tolerance, empathy, and friendship abound. And the story is structured so well, told not only from Augie’s point of view, but from his sister, his new friends, his sister’s boyfriend, and even his sister’s ‘ex-best friend’. This varied offering of perspectives teaches a very important lesson in itself: that there is always more than one side to every story. People rarely see things the same way. And people quite often aren’t thinking what you think they’re thinking.
For me, the greatest message to come out of Wonder is this:
“If every single person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place.”
I firmly believe this. I’ve always, in every corner of my life, endeavoured to be kind, and I truly believe the universe returns this kindness. Kindness leads to all sorts of other avenues of goodness, and it makes you happy. It makes the people around you happy. It’s so easy to be kind. And the more you do it, the more natural it will become. I love these thoughts from Justin, Olivia’s boyfriend:
“The universe doesn’t abandon us…it takes care of its most fragile creations in ways we can’t see. Like with parents who adore you blindly. And a big sister who feels guilty for being human over you. And even a pink haired girl who carries your picture in her wallet. Maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end. The universe takes care of all its birds.”
5 Stars for the story and another 5 stars for the narration.