I just finished a young adult book titled WONDER, by a lady named R.J. Palacio. It is her first book and she has accomplished what every first-time author dreams of: S U C C E S S ! It’s a best-seller and is receiving a lot of well-deserved praise. Good for her. The book also gets it share of criticism from the usual group of disgruntled readers. It’s okay not to like a book, but much of the negativity about this book is kind of lame. It’s like criticizing Disney for being wholesome and family friendly. That’s what Disney is. What better meaning of the phrase it is what it is. Why is the “is” so hard for some of us to accept?
Mostly, the critics of WONDER are not happy because the book is. Happiness, I guess, has no merit among some people. Happy people, happy plots, happy endings—these are all offensive things to some folks nowadays. Turmoil, drama, catastrophe are much more likable to these people. I don’t get it. I like happy. There is enough misery in life not to fantasize about happily ever afters.
WONDER has its unhappy moments but they are all very natural and relative to the story. The story, by the way, is about a 5th grader who has a seriously deformed face. As you can imagine, he goes through life attracting ugly stares, and even uglier comments. Nevertheless, the lad chooses to give up homeschooling and go to public school for 5th grade. This is a major decision which leads to many uncomfortable situations as well as heartwarming ones. In the end, it’s a feel-good book for young adults. It felt good for this old adult, too. It’s just a shame that many among us can’t absorb something for what it is—simple as that—and enjoy it without having to look for more out of it. Fact is, if I were able to send all the curmudgeons of the world to time out—which is what they need–I would make sure this book was there waiting for them. Reading it would be time out well spent.
Remember, May is International Green Month
Celebrate in some festive green way.
Even puking green is acceptable!
Books by Marc Kuhn: THE POPE’S STONE, an historical novel that follows two descendants of a Virginia family who, despite living a century apart, share uncanny similarities in their lives; NEVER GOOSE A MOOSE, a collection of whimsical verse featuring thought-provoking “never-do’s” that children should beware of; and ABOUT A FARM, a children’s book about challenges we all face every day, regardless of where we live. All three books are available at amazon.com and each has its own .com website under its title.
Intimate details about Marc Kuhn and other exhilarating stuff at marckuhn.com
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