11 June 2012


by R. J. Palacio

Random House. Children, Young Adult. Paperback RRP $21.95

Reviewed by Barbara Brown

August Pullman, Auggie, is a ten year old boy who has been home-schooled all his short life. August hasn’t been able to attend school because he was born with severe disfigurements to his face and has had more operations than most of us will have in several lifetimes.

Auggie’s parents have decided that it’s now time to mix with other children and attend a local school. Of course Auggie doesn’t want to go. He knows what people think of his face. Most don’t say anything but Auggie has learnt to read expressions quickly and realises that even when people try to hide their surprise and shock at seeing him for the first time, he sees that glimmer of their reaction to him – they are scared, shaken, upset.

What surprises Auggie is there are some children in this world who see others for who they really are… not what they look like. Auggie has at least one friend by the end of the first day of school. By the end of the year he has many.

Auggie’s first year in a mainstream life is both funny and upsetting but throughout it all, Auggie faces his adversities and his rejectors with a blasé attitude and a bit of humour. That is, until his best mate says something that hurts Auggie to the core. Can anyone be meaner than the school tough guy?

A wonderful story that all reading aged children and above will enjoy. There are the school bullies, the “it” crowds, the nerds, the jocks and then there is August Pullman. A boy in a million who outshines all. Brilliant.

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