“Some things you just can't explain. You don't even try. You don't know where to start. All your sentences would jumble up like a giant knot if you opened your mouth. Any words you used would come out wrong.”
This is exactly how I feel as I sit here trying to come up with the words to explain this book and how it made me feel. I’m going to give it my best.
Kids can be cruel. Kids can be surprisingly empathetic. That’s a part of what this book is about.
Auggie Pullman was born with a one in a million(s) facial defect. The kind of defect that startles the unsuspecting, the kind of defect that will stop a person dead in their tracks, and at 10 years of age Auggie decides to go to a real school.
It was called Junior High in my day and that started in the 7th grade. Today it’s called Middle school and it starts in the 5th grade. According to my dusty memory, this time in a kid’s life can suck even if you have a normal face, so for Auggie this year has the potential to be much worse.
When he was born he was not expected to live, but he did. Through the years of his young life he had many surgeries to make his face functional. He was home schooled until fifth grade when he and his family decided it was time to go to a real school. As you would expect, he had a hard time winning friends…..kids are shallow. But the friends he won early on were keepers, because they went against the stream when they became his friend.
The year had many tough moments for Auggie and many great ones. Told by six different voices, telling the story of the year and of Auggie’s life, from each of their perspectives, and it was done brilliantly. It could have become confused and messy very easily, but it was spot on. This book is a little, sparkly, gem.“The best way to measure how much you've grown isn't by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average-- though those things are important, to be sure. It's what you've done with your time, how you've chosen to spend your days, and whom you've touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.”