The Wonder / Emma Donoghue / 2016 / Picador / ISBN 9781509818396 / 291 Pages / Fiction
Lib Wright, a young English nurse, arrives in an impoverished Irish village on a strange mission. Eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell is said to have eaten nothing for months but appears to be thriving miraculously. With tourists thronging to see the child, and the press sowing doubt, the baffled community looks to an outsider to bring the facts to light. Lib’s job is simple: to watch the girl and uncover the truth. An educated sceptic, trained by the legendary Florence Nightingale and repelled by what she sees as ignorance and superstition, Lib expects to expose the fast as a hoax right away. But as she gets to know the girl, over the long days they spend together, Lib becomes more and more unsure. Is Anna a fraud, or a ‘living wonder’? Or is something more sinister unfolding right before Lib’s eyes, a tragedy in which she herself is playing a part?
I am a huge fan of Emma Donoghues writing, she is a great writer and if you haven’t read Room then you need to get onto it because it is a great book and a great read. This book has a lot of hype surrounding it because of the author’s previous book and even though I don’t want to take anything away from it, I struggled to read this book.
The book is about a girl, Anna, who doesn’t eat and has survived by doing so for months. A Florence Nightingale nurse is called in and asked to supervise and watch to see if the girl is in fact not eating or is lying. In comes Lib, a well-trained nurse who knows what she is doing and the trouble starts. Lib doesn’t like what is going on and wants to help Anna who is deteriorating right in front of her. With prayers and strolls around the farm, Lib and Anna become close companions when they spend most of their days together.
I don’t know what I think about this book. There is a lot that happens in it. It is set a long time ago, they are in Ireland, the weather is awful, the characters of most of the town are not very likeable and the family of Anna are naively in denial of their state of affairs. There is a lot of religion and belief that is in the book and if you don’t like reading that you won’t like reading this. I’m torn about this book, because I can see why so many people would like it, but for myself it wasn’t my cup of tea even though it is a gripping story and has great writing.
If you like out of the ordinary, differences in beliefs and medical kind of stories, than this is a book for you.
I give this book 3.7 out of 5 booky stars!
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