The Wonder

The Wonder

A Novel

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
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"Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who is said to be living without food, 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. As Anna's life ebbs away, Lib finds herself responsible not just for the care of a child but for that child's very survival. Haunting and magnetic, The Wonder is a searing examination of doubt, faith, and what nourishes us, body and soul. Written with all the propulsive tension that made Donoghue's Room a huge bestseller, it works beautifully on many levels -- an intimate tale of two strangers who transform each other's lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a spellbinding story of love pitted against evil." -- from back cover.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2016.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316393874
0316393878
Branch Call Number: FIC DONOGHUE, EMMA
Characteristics: 291 pages ; 25 cm

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i
IV27HUjg
Aug 07, 2017

While three million poor, rural Irish perished by starvation, the GB didn't lift much of a finger to send aid. They actually exported Irish food for their own consumption. My great grandparents immigrated from Cork 1855 to Canada & then US. Just my opinion.

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njon38
Jul 29, 2017

This is a reread and what I did not fully appreciate the first time when I read more for the plot of the "fasting girl" was the commentary of the snotty english nurse about rural ireland. The English really do think the Irish are subhuman. And then what's not to like about a story about the evils of the Catholic church and evils of keeping family secrets.

This story is an agonizing glimpse into the lives of poor rural Irish just after the potato famine of the early 19th century. There is some political underpinning as the British nurse learns how culpable England was in this famine. But the story is of a family beleaguered by druid superstition overlaid with an orthodox Catholicism that would not allow human fragility to upset their belief in miracles. A great story. Well researched and yes, the ending is a bit overstretched but I smiled when I closed the book.

d
DagmarStonehouse
Jul 25, 2017

Very disappointing ..... a short story stretched out to be a tedious novel with a ridiculous fairy tale ending !

b
brangwinn
Jul 04, 2017

A haunting story about a English nurse who was hired to watch a young Irish girl who was looked on as a holy person because she supposedly was able to live without eating. Not only is what the nurse, who had worked with Florence Nightingale, discovered about the child, it is an interesting look from the British point of view at the Irish potato famine. Along with the mystery of the child’s miraculous survival is the interplay of Protestant and Roman Catholic views. You’ll finish reading the book with a lot to think about including how a child’s interaction and expectations of those around her have influence the child.

d
dnlle
Jul 03, 2017

This richly atmospheric, gothic tale is set in a small Irish village in the 1850s, and focuses on Anna, the girl believed to be thriving after months without food, and Lib, one of the nurses hired to uncover the truth. Donoghue writes an engrossing story, exploring religion and Irish superstition, with a creeping tension that propels the reader through, as we strive to find out what is actually going on with this little girl and why.

l
lledomik
Jun 18, 2017

For three quarters of the book, nothing happens. I think it was supposed to be about building suspense but instead the book was just increasing boredom. I lost my patience and began skimming to discover the answer of why the girl was fasting and how she was staying alive. Nothing mind blowing was revealed.

I did not find the main character, Lib, very likable and we are supposed to believe her as being the heroine. Lib was just too judgy and self-righteous.

"Room" was so complex and fast paced. "The Wonder" left me wondering what happened to Donoghue's talent?

d
daysleeper236
Jun 15, 2017

Shocking, thought-provoking and utterly fascinating.

e
Estha
Jun 07, 2017

A quick and easy read, with lots to ponder later. Donoghue wants us to consider how a community created these fasting women of history. But the English nurse used as her lens is too much an outsider and her angry condemnations of those around her become tedious. More interesting is the Irish journalist who interprets the religious Irish world for us better and provides the clues that the reader gets long before the nurse. They might not like it but the book club would have lots to talk about!

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nannerl
Jun 06, 2017

An unusual story, but a familiar tale about females being burdened by and blamed for the sins of males. In this case religion plays a big part. Sad little story in many ways.

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Tjad2L
Apr 28, 2017

Tjad2L thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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