Wonder by R J Palacio

I am way too tired today. I keep yawning and going wrong in my sewing due to absent-mindedness. Watching Zeph’s swimming lesson today from the tropically heated balcony I very nearly fell asleep and shamed myself in front of all the yummy über organised mums.

I have no sensible parenting reason either. I can’t blame Ida’s recent spate of bizarre and troubling nightmares that require hourly cuddling and reassuring in a slurred voice. Or Zeph’s occasional sleepwalking foray. I can’t even blame money worries and an early morning period of reflection and hysterical list-making.

No I picked up one of the proofs from the stack Steve keeps stocked up with the idea of reading a chapter or two before sleep and was so riveted I read the whole thing, the last quarter I was wrapped in a duvet on the corridor floor as Steve was so incensed by the light.

The book is called Wonder by R J Palacio and, I’m sorry, it’s not out until next year.

(check it out here on the book behemoth – Amazon)

I feel sick about how much I loved it and have a fevered urge to thrust it into your hand. This was one of the things I like best about working in the bookshop; gushing helplessly about something I loved and practically forcing a poor customer to buy it out of sheer embarrassment. Actually the best bit was if they ever came back and said they had loved it. A woman who swore up and down she’d never enjoy either science fiction or short stories once bought me in a bunch of snowdrops to say how she had loved the copy of Margo Lanagan’s Black Juice I’d practically bullied her into buying.

Some of the reviews I’ve read are comparing it to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and I can see why. It has had the same hold on me. Auggie Pullman, the books occasional narrator and hero has been on my mind since I turned the first page. It’s a complex difficult subject handled incredibly astutely and left me feeling I’d had a real insight into someones heart.

I did cry but there was no sentimental mawkish tugging of heartstrings. I mean, Spielberg makes me cry but leaves me feeling manipulated. I didn’t pity Auggie – I empathized with him, respected and admired him.

I’m  turning  over the things I loved about this book, the change of narrator giving different views of the same event. How hard growing up is, this amazing time when children turn their eyes out to the world and begin to ask who they are and what they think. Most resonate to me, the messages about kindness and the impact choosing to be kind has on the world, whether you see its effect or not.

I’m planning to read it again tonight.

Recently I read this great post by Wham Bahm which very nearly sent me out to buy a copy of the Night Circus although we had a slightly battered proof. I do love a beautiful cover and on the occasions I am browsing I know I’m more influenced by them than I would like to be – visual flibberty gibbert that I am – but there’s also something magical about picking up a drab plain cover and finding treasure within.

Yep, I was lying before. Proofs are the best bit of the job. Luckily I can still experience the pleasure thanks to Steve (although I have to abide by his rules..he’s got first dibs and no reading them in the bath – he put that one into our wedding vows…)

The book page of my blog makes me feel a bit ashamed. It’s a bit like when visitors glimpse what’s under the sofa cushions. It’s not that I’m not reading lots – just not writing them up.  Must try harder… and have a good hoover around.


3 responses to “Wonder by R J Palacio

  1. Is Steve a proof reader, or a publisher, or what?
    Sounds so exciting to be able to lay hands on such treasures before they go on general release. x

    • I bloody wish – no – just works in a bookshop. Proofs are a good way of getting a bit of excitement up for new releases and they mean booksellers can handsell stuff more – little bit of word of mouth at the beginning can really snowball. I honestly think this’ll be a big one though. Just lovely.

  2. Sounds wonderful – I will keep an eye out for it. I do like the idea of reading books before they’re generally available. I have had a few parenting book proof copies for the blog, but no fiction.

    Glad you enjoyed the book cover post. I actually almost bought a book that I didn’t really want to read purely because of it’s beautiful cover the other day (and perhaps, also, because it was right at the front of WH Smith), but I managed to stop myself.

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