I was given this by a work colleague who told me it was being touted as "The New 'Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime'" here in the UK. Not really the type of book I'd normally read, but I thought I'd give it a go. I'm glad that I did.
The story follows August Pullman, a boy born with terrible facial deformities, as he begins his first year in school, having been home schooled up to this point. We read about his struggles to fit in and how his life and needs have impacted upon those around him.
Palacio writes well. I thought most of the characters were believable and the incidents in the book seemed to ring true. The narrative is also very well handled - just as I was getting a bit tired of Auggie's narrative voice, other characters were brought in to give us their perspective, which worked brilliantly.
My one issue with the book is the ending. I like happy endings as much as the next person, don't get me wrong, but this felt forced, cheesy and rushed. Palacio had spent so long building the story and the characters, we could have reached the same resolution in another, more understated way. Maybe it's my cynical Britsh side coming through, but it felt like those old American shows where every episode ended with the gang laughing and the credits rolling, no matter what had happened. It was a bit too "USA, USA" for me.
Either way, despite that this is a funny, touching book and definitely worth a read. I gave my mum my copy when I was finished and she ended up being late for work as she couldn't stop reading it. She's never late for work. If that's not an endorsement for this story, I don't know what is!