The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Age range: adult | Hardcover: 304 pages | Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (September 20, 2016)
About the Book
Named a Notable Book of 2016 by the Washington Post, one of Kirkus Reviews’ “Best 100 Fiction Books of 2016,” and one of Fresh Air’s Maureen Corrigan’s 10 Best Books of 2016
*The latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room*
In the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle—a girl said to have survived without food for months—soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.
Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.
Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels–a tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.
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My Thoughts on The Wonder
This is a fascinating book, made even more interesting by its background in fact. While The Wonder is a work of fiction, history has produced several “fasting girls” similar to the one in the story.
It starts off with a rigid, uptight nurse being hired to watch a young girl who claims she doesn’t eat. Anna, the fasting girl, claims God asked her to stop eating. Lib, the unbelieving and disenchanted nurse, naturally thinks the whole thing a sham and is certain she’ll catch the girl sneaking food within a day or two.
I was afraid the book would be boring. You’re reading about someone watching someone else not eating. Day after day of sitting in the same room, watching, and not eating. However, the book is far from boring. The characters have depth and history to them. I loved seeing the connection between Anna and Lib grow each day as they drew closer together.
I’ll admit, I found Lib’s resentment toward religion tiresome. However, her journey is about more than just catching a liar. Lib changes dramatically in the two weeks she spends with Anna. I think that’s the true beauty of this story — the worldly woman who gave up on her faith learns to hope in something greater than herself while saving someone else who gravely misinterpreted their own doctrines.
I have very mixed feelings about the way this story is told. I loved it and hated it in equal measure. My neighbor also read the book and she had mixed feelings about it as well. It would make a good book to read for book club, so you have other people to discuss it with.
Content: child abuse/starvation and alluding to sexual abuse of a child.
Source: I got The Wonder with my Book of the Month membership.
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