THE OTHER SIDE OF BULLYING
BY H. G. Sansostri
I’m sorry I haven’t written in a long time, I have been really busy lately with book talks and school revision. You guys know how school can be right?
Anyway, I’ve decided to do a book discussion on a wonderful book called ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palachio
Did you get the joke?
Well, corny jokes aside,this book follows the life of a ten-year old boy called August who has special needs and a facial disfigurement and is starting at a new school called Beecher Prep.
The book revolves around his perspective in first-person, as well as other characters such as his sister, as he tries to survive the school year in Beecher Prep against the boys and girls who make fun of him. Surprisingly, this book really opens my eyes to the possible reasons these boys and girls treat August so badly.
Number one: These children are ten years old and don’t really understand that they are being mean and are hurting August’s feelings by saying such things.
Number two: What really provokes a few questions is the ‘Julian’ chapter. This is an extra chapter in the limited edition of this book, that really supports the ‘there are two sides to every story’ phrase.
Julian (the main bully and enemy of August) is depicted as the typical popular and mean boy who is just picking on a vulnerable kid for the pure entertainment value, but Julian is also innocent as he doesn’t understand the implications of what he is doing and he is very young. He doesn’t understand the power of the words he is using or what the consequences of his actions are doing to August.
Even at the end of the book, he feels really bad for what he’s said and done to August so he finally understands and therefore cries about it.
This book gives me a lot of insight into bullying. Why? Because sometimes the bully is a victim too and isn’t always bad, just misguided. Some kids can be mean because that’s all they know and have learnt from their upbringing i.e mean parents who don’t care, mean brothers and sisters etc.
These children aren’t loved so they can’t feel or understand kindness to others and they don’t know anything else other than treating others badly, maybe as a form of defence before someone says something mean to them and because of that, they don’t understand that what they are doing or saying is wrong.
The book also shows the perspective of other people who are related to August e.g. his sister. This is an interesting writers angle that I am trying to implement in my WCP trilogy (my latest book) maybe out in 2050!
More on the topic of bullying, this book shows how issues like bullying affect others that are related to the problem. In the book, you only ever find out August has special needs when his sister lets the readers know. His sister, Olivia, is trying to hide the fact her brother has special needs from her friends at high school because she doesn’t want to be known as the girl with a brother who has special needs. It’s not that she’s ashamed of her brother, but she knows how other people can be mean and might bully her because of it. As I said, people have their misguided reasons. Like bullying someone because they have a disabled brother?
Finally, one last question would be…
What made R.J. Palachio come up with such an intricate and complicated storyline?
Is R.J. Palachio related to someone who has special needs or someone who has been bullied?
The plot is very moving for a normal ‘slice-of-life’ kind of book, which means the author has had to have had some sort of real experience and insight into these matters.
I mean, it’s like trying to write a book on a subject you know absolutely nothing about.
The story of August is written so brilliantly and makes you feel sorry for August when he’s sad and feel proud of August when he does well. It’s like you want August to have a good conclusion in this book.
The reason the readers feel this is because August is a likeable, innocent character from beginning to end and because people, like me, can relate to bullying we can feel the pain August goes through whilst he tries to cope.
Wonder is an amazing book and is about a tale of friendship and loyalty. I recommend this book for it’s unique use of characteristics for each character’s perspectives and how uplifting it can be sometimes.