20 Under 20 Brooklyn Mire's Letter
Dear R.J Palacio,
I have read your book, Wonder. Your book changed the way I look at many things, others, myself, and reality.I should first tell you that my big brother and mom are both disabled. They have Cerebral Palsy, but it only affects their lower body. From the waist up they are completely normal. Neither of them is in a wheelchair, but neither can walk without either holding on to me, my dad, or holding on to a shelf, table, or cabinet. It sometimes is difficult and sometimes affects my life. Wait, no it does not affect my life. This is my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.Your book changed the way I look at others. It changes the way I see the people all around me. Do people look at my family and I like people look at Auggie and his family? Are people only friends with my brother and my mom because they feel bad for them? I’ve never thought about this before. I don’t think this is true. Is this because I don’t want this to be true or because they deserve friends, being the nicest, strongest, encouraging people that I know?Like Via, I get very angry when I see someone staring at us like they paid us to put on a show. They look my family up and down, but when their eyes get down, they stay down, staring at my family’s legs. “They aren’t aliens! They are just like me and you, but their legs don’t work exactly the same.” I say this every time, but only in my head. I’ve tried to see what they see, but I just can’t see it.Your book also changed the way I look at myself. Am I a planet? Is my brother the sun? My brother competes in the Paralympics, and he is graduating from high school this year, so of course he is getting lots of attention. I don’t think I am getting any less attention than him. This year I’m leaving elementary school and I’m also on three softball teams. I still wonder, if I take a look at me from the outside of me, like I’m another person, who doesn’t know my family would I know I have a disabled family? Do I show it? Do I get angry about it towards other people? Your book even made me start to wonder, who am I?Finally your book changed the way I look at reality. I wondered, what is reality? Was a certain reality given to us by God? Does reality mean face the true facts of life? Is reality life? If so, why do I have this life? Why is this reality for me? Why was that reality for Auggie and his family?Momma always told me that God gave me to her and the family for a special reason. Your book helped me to realize being different isn’t always bad. Usually, I feel like no one understands what it is like living with my family. No one understands how normal it can be. Your book changed that. You understood, and I want to tell you thank you.
Love your fan forever,