About a year ago, I helped out at a book club in my local primary school. The class teacher, a half dozen ten-year-olds and I sat around a classroom during lunch break, all of us fighting back tears, because the book we were discussing was Wonder.
Pluto didn’t have me in tears like Wonder did (thankfully, because I don’t think I could have stood it) but it still had plenty of emotional resonance. It tells the story of Wonder through Chris’s eyes, August’s oldest friend. Over the course of one nightmarish day, we’re given an insight into not only Chris’s life but also his friendship with August and other kids at his school.
I just loved Pluto. Chris’s perspective was so interesting and like the rest of the cast of Wonder he is flawed and heroic in equal, and totally believable, measure. August and his family feature in Pluto but they don’t take starring roles. Instead, the novella concentrates on themes of friendship and relationships in general.
RJ Palacio doesn’t sugar-coat things, and I think that’s a big part of her appeal. She states quite categorically that sometimes friendships can be hard, especially with someone like August, and even though we’re told not to judge people, we still do it: it’s human nature and it’s what you do with your judgement that matters.
Wonder was one of the best books I read last year and Pluto was a wonderful way to catch up with the characters I loved so much.