Chapters 79-81 Summary
Opening night is almost here, and Justin is spending almost all his time practicing for the play. He is still struggling with his lines, but Olivia suggested that he bring his fiddle onstage. The director approved, saying it provided “an extra-folksy element,” so now Justin can pluck his fiddle whenever he needs time to remember a line.
One day when he has a break during rehearsal, Justin sits chatting with the pink-haired girl who plays the female lead, Miranda. Miranda casually asks if Justin has met Via’s brother. This shocks Justin, who had no idea that Olivia and Miranda were ever friends. Miranda explains that she has known Via and August forever. She gets out a photograph of a much younger August wearing an astronaut helmet, and she says proudly that she gave it to him.
Justin marvels that Olivia never mentioned Miranda before, but he tries to hide his feelings now. When Miranda asks if Justin is “okay with it,” he pretends not to know she is talking about August’s face. Miranda is not so shy: “the universe was not kind to auggie pullman,” she says.
The next day, Justin asks Olivia why she never told him about Miranda. Olivia snaps that she does not even know Miranda anymore. Justin does not understand this, and the conversation soon turns into an argument.
Olivia starts to cry, but she swears it is not Justin’s fault. She confesses that she has not told her family about the play because she does not want the kids at her new school to see August. She feels guilty about this, and she sobs in Justin’s arms. He thinks she is like “a little lost bird,” and he protects her under his “wing.”
That evening, Justin cannot sleep because he is thinking about Miranda’s words: “the universe was not kind to auggie pullman.” Olivia has told him that only one person in four million would ever be born like August. This idea bothers Justin because it makes life seem random, like a cruel lottery.
Eventually, though, Justin comforts himself with a new thought: August is not alone. He has loving parents, a big sister who protects him and feels guilty for not being perfect, and a friend who was willing to lose all his other friends over him. There is even Miranda, who carries a picture of August in her wallet. As Part Five of Wonder ends, Justin falls asleep, thinking, “the universe takes care of all its birds.”