Thursday, March 20, 2014

required reading.

The last time I admitted to reading a novel in the "young adult" genre, I felt a little like I was confessing it to you; like I'd done something wrong. Up until then, I'd proudly avoided all of the Harry Potter and the Twilight books, only to fall hard for the Hunger Games trilogy.  I devoured the books as quickly as I could get my hands on them. 

This enthusiastic post is also about a "young adult" book that I just read.  But this isn't a confession and I feel no embarrassment.  In fact, I'm here to tell you that if you haven't read Wonder by R. J. Palacio, you should read to the end of this post, make a comment about how brilliant I am and then immediately go read it.

It's just that important.  It's just that good.  If it were up to me, every school should make it required reading.


My cousin Anne told me about the book when was in Atlanta a few weeks ago.  It's her oldest son, Will's, favorite.  She started to tell me what the book was about, but stopped short, saying she wanted me to read it without any prejudgments.  But I could tell by the way her she lit up when she spoke about it, this book had made some kind of impact on her.

Considering I've looked up to Anne since I was a little girl and did whatever she said and wanted to be just like her, it came as no surprise I ran right out to get the book.

If "Teenager Anne" tells your 8-year old self to tease your hair like a teenager and spray it with Aqua Net, you do it. 


If "Adult Anne" tells your 33-year old self to read Wonder, you do it.

So I did.

It took me just three nights to read it - which I did while Jacob was beside me reading, The Wolf of Wall Street, which I'm sure made for a humorous scene - him laughing a plot lines involving Quaaludes and strippers and me fighting back tears, my heart literally breaking with sadness and then swelling with hope for Auggie, Wonder's main character.

Without any hesitation and absolutely no shame, I encourage you to read this book, share it, talk about it with your kids, nieces, nephews, neighbors.  It will make you appreciate the struggles we all face both as kids and adults, regardless of the circumstances we're given; it will make you want to be kinder, or at the very least, consider giving others a break every once in a while, for we're all doing the best we can, after all.  

I always joke that I owe Anne everything for teaching me everything I know about hair - and now I can thank her for introducing me to a book that in just three short days, has changed my perspective and softened my heart.  If only I could go back to middle school and do things differently - both for my hair and my attitude.   

This book is what you're getting for your next birthday.  I hope you like it!  Love, Aunt Steph

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