Friday, April 6, 2012

Food, Friendships & Wonder

Today, I did what I have been doing on Good Friday for the past three years.  I listened to Jesus Christ Superstar while dipping peanut butter eggs in melted chocolate.

I also dipped candied orange peels in chocolate since my Dad has decided they are scrumptious.

About a third of the way through the dipping I decided something.  My neighbor and I are friends but lately things have seemed...awkward, maybe?  Strained?  You know how it gets.  Someone does or says something and, later, you replay it and wonder if it means something more serious than it does.  And then someone's feelings get hurt.  Usually mine, because I have very fragile feelings and a HUGE imagination for all the negative meanings or nuances for what has been said or done.

So, since the Hub was out running errands and I had just made coffee and was dipping things in chocolate, I called my neighbor and offered to bring her coffee and chocolate.

It was a very good idea.  I like my neighbor a lot.  We had fun talking to one another.

When I returned to chocolate dipping - and to Jesus Christ Superstar - I started thinking about Wonder by R. J. Palacio.  Now, that is a book made to think about.  Some of you will think about the characters and the events.  Others will wonder if the author's choices were realistic.  And still others will get inspiration from the way the characters behaved.

I realized that I might have been inspired by Miranda's actions.  In the book, Miranda is/was Auggie's sister's best friend.  And then something happened, some small thing, that changed the dynamics of the girls' relationship.  Towards the end of the book, Miranda makes a choice which helps the girls reconnect.  Yeah.  This is a good thing.  I like Olivia, Auggie's sister, and I like Miranda.  They should still be friends.

More about the book.  The book is told in many voices - one of the choices the author makes that will make people wonder.  I felt the choice was a good one.  I needed to see the same events - or situations - through different people's eyes.  Auggie, whose facial deformities have made his life challenging and painful, does most of the narration.  But when Olivia gets a chance to speak, it is good to see that she is not as perfect as Auggie paints her.  Their family life is all about Auggie and Olivia understands and accepts that.  That doesn't mean that she wants everyone to think of her as "the girl with the deformed brother."

Miranda has loved Auggie for as long as she has been Olivia's friend.  There are times that she thinks of Auggie as her brother.  This complicates her life.  Her story is a touching one.  Miranda might be my favorite character.

We hear from Auggie's friends at school, Summer and Jack.  Sometimes, fifth graders do stupid hurtful things when they think no one will know about them.  Honesty is hard at that age.

We hear from Olivia's first boyfriend.  This is an odd narration.  But a useful one.  The other characters are involved with Auggie in constant and deep ways.  Josh is an outsider and his view of the family dynamics is refreshing.  Plus, I like a little romance in books about difficult topics.

AND, there are fun happenings and scary happenings in this book - action, maybe even a little adventure.  There is information about birth defects -  how they are treated and technology.  Humor and hope can defuse a lot of painful events.

So, this book goes on my list of favorites!  Wonder by R. J. Palacio.  I suggest that your read it.

1 comment:

  1. A great review of an intriguing book.

    Good for you for reconnecting with your neighbour. I'm like you, very sensitive, and sometimes I take the things people say in passing much too seriously. I definitely have to work on that. Thanks for the reminder. It's an important one.