"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, February 22, 2021

Nonfiction review: NORMAL: ONE KID'S EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY


Normal: One Kid's Extraordinary Journey
(Young Reader's Edition) is a memoir written by a mother-son duo. Nathaniel Newman and his mother, Magda, tell the story of his growing up with the same craniofacial syndrome as the boy, Auggie, in the book/movie Wonder.


By the time Nathaniel was fifteen he'd endured over 65 surgeries to his face and neck. He and his family had moved eight times which required making all new friends every time. Yet he and his family tackled ever situation with love and resilience.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio was published when Nathaniel was eight. It's publication had a huge impact on Nathaniel and his family.  Nathaniel and his family were involved in the making of the "Wonder" movie. Nathaniel was even given a screen test to see if he could act the part of Auggie but the director opted for using an actor wearing makeup and a mask. Wonder also helped his brother, Jacob, tremendously because he had had to cope with all the bullying directed toward Nathaniel.


The book is written in an engaging way, seamlessly moving back and forth between mother and son dialogue. It also utilizes hilarious black and white cartoons that help the reader know Nathaniel and his sense of humor better.This is an example from the dedication page:

What I liked about the book:

  • First off, Nathaniel and his mom are both very likeable so I was very invested in what happened to them.
  • The way the book is laid out is welcoming and easy to navigate. I cold always tell who was speaking, Nathaniel or Magda.
  • Nathaniel doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for him, he wants people to be more empathetic toward people with differences. Like the book Wonder, Normal can significantly help move people toward that goal.

What I didn't like about the book:

  • Even though it says it is marketed toward "young readers", I kept wondering about who the target population was. I am not sure that middle grade students would be attracted to this book. But, as you know, I am not a middle-grade person. I could be completely wrong. Certainly every teacher who assigns Wonder as a class read should read this book and make it available for those students to check out.
Source: Print edition checked out from the public library.
 

-Anne

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