In our book club, we are reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. We are thinking about the challenges the characters face and how their challenges affect them.
August faces many challenges. He has a facial birth defect and it’s a challenge for him every day to try and tell people that he is a normal person. He often bullied or left out in school, and he is judged on how he looks. These challenges prevent him from making that many friends. Soon, with all the people bullying him, he starts regretting that he had gone to school in the first place. He thinks that he doesn’t have any real friends because Principal Tushman assigned people to be his friends but he actually has real friends. The kids who bully him at school affected him to change his costume at the last second so he wouldn’t be picked on. The way that people treat him has made him when he was younger, to wear an astronaut helmet to prevent any looks or sideways glances. He stopped wearing it only because he lost it. I think that if he didn’t lose it, he would have kept wearing it. August acts differently both when he is with people and when he is alone. When he is with people, it depends who he is with. If he is with his family and friends, he acts completely normal. If he is with people like Julian, he tries to avoid them the best he can. When August is alone, he thinks about himself more and his mind wanders to where it makes him scared, sad and angry.
I think Donovan is naughty because he doesn’t have a very close connection with his family. I think this because every time he gets a letter home from school he expects it to be because he was in trouble, so when his dad reads the letter he looks up and expects to see “the vein throbbing” because his father would be mad. I also think this because makes fun of his sister who is 26 years old and is pregnant while her husband is in Afghanistan. He doesn’t know how much stress her sister is in so that means he does not have a close connection.
I think that Griffin is just a very weird, bad guy. He must be mentally disturbed or something else. He is also very destructive; like the time he took Eric’s bike, like its his bike? That’s just crazy. Also, Griffin smoked? It’s so wrong. Why would anybody do that? But it makes sense since his dad beats him up all the time since he drinks and is a retired police officer. He must have grew up with it at home.
Eric is feeling very guilty that he became friends with a known bully. He thinks he did the right thing when he gave Hallenback (to Eric, “ketchup boy”) away to Griffin, and he realizes that. Know he doesn’t know what to do; tell his mom, give Griffin away, or keep it secret. Then he figures out that Griffin is pretending to be charming to his mom and helping the elderly at the mall, but really is just a fraud, trying to steal stuff from those people. For example, he stole some gum from an old lady called Mrs. Chaves, when helping her with shopping, and gets away with it easily.