126: Inspiration // Wonder | tori's tales: 126: Inspiration // Wonder

13 November 2013

126: Inspiration // Wonder

Image Credit: Hey! I'm Dhani, Tumblr
I've been a little lazy over the past few days and quite without motivation to produce something new on TTs. However, this morning that all changed when I came to the end of the book I'd been reading (since yesterday, this book-reading malarkey can be quite the expensive habit!) and felt a surge of energy to sit and create. Nothing spectacular, just a catch-up, a jumble of words, a splodging of sentences, a collection of thoughts, but something all the same. It's amazing what loving a book can do one's motivation!

The book in question was 'Wonder', by R J Palacio, about a 10 year old boy named August who was born with a facial abnormality. The storyline follows him through his very first year at school - as a fifth grader - and is separated into sections, each of which alternate between the voices of August, his sister Via, and a few others, focusing on their own side of August's journey. As you can imagine it is quite the bumpy ride and - when it was all over - I landed on the floor a messy, crumpled-up, sobbing mess of a Tori, struggling to deal with all the emotions August's story had me exert. I'm really only just now getting my breath back. Phew. 

Image Credit: Choose Kind, tumblr
School, for anyone, isn't an easy time. I for one don't have the best memories of it (don't worry, I feel no need to sit here and fill you all in on my school woes!) so I love the book's mantra; to choose to be kind. I've just followed the hashtags on Twitter dedicated to 'Wonder', and August, and it makes me happy to see lots of schools (specifically in America) embracing the story, reading it as a class, teaching it's pupils to follow the lead of those within the book and even holding 'Auggie' days (some celebrated his birthday on the 10th October!). What a fabulous idea. It's so important to instil in children a sense of kindness, empathy, and understanding, alongside emphasising the importance of inclusion because we all know the impact of our school years really are felt keenly, even as an adult, and especially if they were negative ones. In all honesty I think those are the times we remember the most; the evil conquers good, so to speak. 

Image Credit: Choose Kind, tumblr
I don't get touched by books too often, probably because my genre of choice tends towards crime/murder, which I find easy to read and, in turn, easy to escape into (not sure what this says about my mindset) so I really was surprised to be so affected by this one. I do believe it's because August's storyline is centred around school life - school is something we all go through, it's something we all can remember, and any story that revolves around such a familiar setting, I think, offers us a greater chance of relating to it. I have experienced the cruelty of school life - from children and teenagers alike - and as a result could sympathise with Auggie and his own experiences. It certainly made the book all that more compelling for me.

Image Credit: Sam Kalda, Behance
Prior to 'Wonder' I read 'Snow White Must Die' which, in all honesty, was a really hard read for me. It took me weeks and weeks and weeks to get through the first few chapters (how I didn't give up on it I don't know!!); I struggled with the characters names (the original is German, thus all the names/surnames follow suit and a number of characters are policemen who are referred to by their surnames, all of which I found hard to pronounce - anyone else ever get strung up on this?), the sheer number of people involved in the story (I still couldn't really tell you who was who) and the lack of character-continuity (in the sense that the lead character, Tobias, seemed to switch between two very different personalities, or at least different character traits). Once I got through the first half of the book the rest faired better for me but still wasn't without its annoyances, such as introducing a character, or using a characters impairment, to explain a part of the story (which always feels like a cop-out to me). All in all it was a decent book but not one I'd be keen to recommend if, like me, you enjoy pace and energy in a book. The beginning was all too much of a struggle to get through - I don't like to work that hard to enjoy a story!

Image Credit: Choose Kind, tumblr
Back to 'Wonder' - I'd more than happily recommend his story to any and all of you. It's a fairly short read - 313 pages of large-ish font (the book itself is characterised either as a children's or YA book, depending on where you search for it) - and all the characters' personal insights very much add to the story and the overall message of the book. I have no qualms in saying that I very much believe both children and adults alike will appreciate the moral of it's tale so it's well worth picking up, or at least popping on your Christmas list!

Is there a book you've read, be it recently or not, that has had a great impact on you? Why was that?


  1. I've really wanted to read this book for quite a while now, I may have to add it to my ever growing "books to read" list! x

  2. Right, that ones going on the 'to read' list too!!

    I finished a book today, which means... Bom bom boooooooom I'm going to start Sister!! ;) Can't wait. I shall, of course, let you know what I think of it.

    Wonder sounds like it really caught your attention! Will be checking it out :)

  3. Ahh I might have to give this book a go. I will ask my sister Willow if she has it, she's pretty up to date on these sorts of things and it was Willow that gave me The Fault In Our Stars to read. It sounds emotional, so I might wait until after the festive season to read it because this time of year is a pretty emotional one anyway, and I don't want to turn myself into an emotional wreck haha. I think I would relate to this book pretty well too though, I wonder if there are many people out there who don't have some negative memories of school! xxx


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