I bet you wonder what I thought of this book. (See what I did there :)?)
Auggie and Me by R.J. Palacio goes deeper into the lives of three characters from Wonder, a fantastic book about Auggie Pullman, a boy with a craniofacial deformity, as he navigates through middle school (check out my review of Wonder here). In this book, readers get to see the perspectives of the bully Julian, Auggie’s old friend Christopher, and the goody two shoes Charlotte.
Even though I really enjoyed Wonder, I didn’t find myself as invested in Auggie and Me. I understand that the stories weren’t supposed to center on Auggie, but as the book continued, the book had less and less to do with the original story. In Charlotte’s story, it felt like the connection was held together by a thread. Since the three different stories also loosely relate to each other, I will review them all separately.
The Julian Chapter
Out of all the three stories, the Julian Chapter was definitely my favorite and most anticipated story. Julian’s Chapter was also the story with the strongest ties to the original story. It was interesting to see why Julian reacted the way he did and how many of his perceptions were the results of his parents’ actions. However, I like how the author allowed Julian to not be bound by his parent’s opinions and form his own.
Since Julian’s Chapter is the most anticipated out of the three stories and the time frame is the longest (it also includes the summer after the school year), I think this chapter would be better placed at the end of the book. While this story will get the reader’s attention, neither of the following stories really do and I felt myself losing interest as I kept reading the book in its entirety.
Pluto follows Auggie’s childhood best friend, Christopher. One aspect of Christopher’s story that I really enjoyed was getting to see a part of Auggie’s childhood from a different perspective. Even though Christopher’s story does distance itself a bit, there still is a clear connection how his early experiences with Auggie affect his experiences now, which is much harder to see in the next part, Shingaling.
Overall, Christopher’s section was okay. I think this story would be better placed at the beginning of the book since we get to see Auggie at a younger age and Christopher’s story ends within the time frame of Wonder. Also, even though I can’t put my finger on exactly what, this part needed something else to make it really stand out and reach the caliber of the original story.
Shingaling is the final part of Auggie and Me and the part that least relates to the original story. Shingaling follows Charlotte, part of Auggie’s original welcoming committee, as she performs in a dance with Summer and one of the popular girls. I think I would have liked Charlotte’s story more if it wasn’t included in this collection. The dynamics of girl friendships at this age were very real and I liked the message that you can’t just be nice, you have to be kind. Even though the connection to Auggie’s story is there, it is rushed within two sentences at the end.
I understand that this is not Auggie’s story, however if the book’s purpose is to show how dramatically Auggie affected these three people’s lives, you would think that he would be mentioned more than a handful of times. I would have preferred if Charlotte’s story was even it’s own book because I think the themes presented would be more impactful if they were fleshed out and not rushed in a short section of a book. Also, like with the other stories, I think the placement of this section is off and would be better suited to the middle of the three stories.
I rate this book three out of five stars.
Which story was your favorite?