People who sit next to me on planes should be warned that I may burst into laughter or tears at any moment. This is because in the Economy section, there isn’t enough arm-room to use my laptop when the person in front of me takes the flight attendant’s suggestion to “relax, recline back, and enjoy the flight.” For the record, I cannot relax when the person in front of me is leaning back across my kneecaps. Leaning back myself just makes me feel guilty about the person behind me, and at that point, I can’t reach anything I’ve stored under the seat in front of me, but even if I could, who can type at that angle?
All of this is to say that after I’ve clawed my way through a few crosswords (I love you, Will Shortz!), I tend to read whatever book I’ve managed to stash in the seat-pocket-in-front-slash-on-top-of-me.
Last night’s offering (from Houston to Newark) was WONDER, a young adult book I’ve been meaning to read for many months. Lots of teacher friends had told me it was good, and they were, of course, absolutely correct. The novel, seen through the eyes of several important characters, tells the story of August Pullman, a fifth-grader whose face is so deformed that it affects how people relate to him. He enters the fifth grade after being home-schooled by his loving mother, and although you might be able to predict some of the consequences, this book is far from predictable: it’s page-turning and poignant and totally believable. Also, ultimately, triumphant. Which is why it made me weep openly at 35,000 feet.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.