The Wonder

The Wonder

A Novel

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
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An 11-year-old girl stops eating, but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse, sent to investigate whether she is a fraud, meets a journalist hungry for a story. Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, The Wonder - inspired by numerous European and North American cases of "fasting girls" between the 16th century and the 20th - is a psychological thriller about a child's murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes. Pitting all the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love, it is a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.
Publisher: New York, New York : HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., ©2016.
ISBN: 9781443450027
Characteristics: 291 pages ;,24 cm.

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y
yorkiebj
Mar 19, 2018

A very different read for me. The first three quarters of the book while enticing progressed slowly, only to have the ending finish to rapidly. I was kept reading, but jolted by the abrupt conclusion of the book.

It was an interesting historical fiction period I was unacquainted with.

o
orange_lobster_23
Mar 16, 2018

The characters were clearly one dimensional and not nuanced. The Lib's self-righteous fervor in rescuing her young starving patient lacked any nuance or compassion toward her faith-
blinded family. The conclusion of this story stretched credulity. Readers who liked "Room"
will be disappointed.

ecole2016 Feb 28, 2018

Set in Ireland in the late 1800s, I found this book very slow to start. It picked up some after the first 100 pages. Even though it wasn't my favorite book, I think it'll lead to an interesting book club discussion.

l
lorraineacasas
Jan 26, 2018

I thought about changing my rating and thoughts about this book after attending my local library’s book discussion group, but I think my rating still holds true for myself and I would still recommend this book. It might not be for everyone, but this historic/literary fiction definitely took me by surprise! It was slow to start but the ending was worth it (I’m also a sucker for a good ending - no matter how unrealistic *shrug*). I thought the roles were well thought through and I also thought it interesting how starvation, nurses, religion, family, guilt, etc. were portrayed. I definitely think it’s a great book club read - it makes for a lot of discussion. It also had an appropriate and yet still relevant setting, great imagery, and a strong female lead role - however, I did find that a particular male role did kind of play hero (I don’t want to spoil it) and that’s kind of disappointing. But many other people in my group found him not to be that way and very much gave credit to the character Lib. Again, a great book club read and definitely something different from my usual reads! I’d recommend it!

AL_ANNAL Dec 14, 2017

Themes of rural guilelessness vs. city sophistication and traditional faith vs. modern rationalism are effortlessly portrayed in this beautiful story of a skeptical nurse who is employed to determine whether a "fasting girl" is a miracle or a hoax. The truth of the situation is revealed and the nurse comes to love the girl. The reader is caught up in the suspense that builds at the end of the novel.

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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.

n
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.

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Tjad2L
Apr 28, 2017

Tjad2L thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

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EAEccher
Mar 09, 2018

I suppose it's fitting that I read this during Lent, as it felt like doing interminable penance. The writing is clunky and overbearing, the characters are stereotypical, and the ending is eye-rollingly ludicrous.

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