The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction
Lib Wright, an English nurse trained by Florence Nightingale, herself, has been hired for a two week job in a small Irish village. Her job: merely observe what some are calling a miracle – an eleven year old girl who claims to not have eaten any food in over 4 months. People are flocking from all over to meet Anna O’Donnell, a young girl who believes she has been specially chosen by God to live off of manna from Heaven. Lib, along with a Catholic nun, have been hired by a private committee to take shifts and sit with Anna constantly in order to prove or disprove the validity of the girl’s claims. The nurse finds herself torn between wanting to do a good job for the task that she was hired and wanting to actually save this girl from herself and from whatever or whomever are convincing her to continue this fast.
The timeline of this novel is set just after the great potato famine of the mid-nineteenth century in Ireland. Emma Donoghue drew from past cases of over 50 different “fasting girls” in Europe and North America between the 16th and 20th centuries. I really enjoyed this one and…like Donoghue’s other novel, Room…. I was sucked in almost immediately by the storyline and the characters involved. The majority of the story takes place in a tiny cabin and there aren’t more than a handful of important characters in the entire story…because of this, the reader is able to feel fully invested in the story and the ultimate outcome very quickly. This story has a very dark and almost gothic feel to it as the conditions of Anna’s quickly deteriorating and emaciated body are described…along side the beliefs of the Irish Catholic family and community.
The Wonder was just released on September 20th of this year. If you were a fan of Donoghue’s best seller, Room, I think you’ll also enjoy this one. I received a review copy of The Wonder in exchange for my review from Netgalley. I’d like to thank Emma Donoghue, Little Brown and Company, and Netgalley for the opportunity.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
The Wonder – Amazon