Wonder by RJ Palacio got us all talking, and for all the right reasons. Palacio tackled bullying head on.
But what about those bullies? It’s a much vocalised statement that the bullies, without excusing their behaviour, often have their own story. Here it is – Wonder: The Julian Chapter.
Meet Julian. With an overbearing mother and an anxiety problem since he was young, it was always stacked up against him. When Auggie arrives at his school Julian just doesn’t have the skills to deal with the new arrival effectively.
‘My problem is that everything’s different since he’s been coming to school. The kids are different. I’m different. And it sucks big time.’
It takes awhile before Julian is able to admit fear,
‘Sometimes fear can make even the nicest kids say and do things they wouldn’t ordinarily say or do.’
Palacio is careful here, the weight of sympathy is not fully with Julian by any stretch. His impassioned pleas, his inability to see Auggie’s perspective, make him appear spoilt and ignorant …
‘I’m not a bully like that! I’m not a hater, dudes! Attention, people! Stop being so sensitive!’
A trip to France to visit his Grandmere provides Julian with much needed perspective. Different angle, a change of pace and setting enable Julian to take a step back and Palacio to bring in a new level to this book. The story within a story here is a fresh engaging element to this chapter book.
How many times do you reach the end of a book, a really good book and want to know more? This is it. This is Julian’s story. So many questions, and here are the answers.