The Wonder by Emma Donoghue


For my first review I decided on this one because it came up in my regular book club that I do with my friends, Reading Between the Wines (RBW). I will admit that this type of story is not my usual cup of tea (anything having to do with religion tends to scare me off – in case the flame ratings weren’t hint enough that I’m a heathen) but I was plesantly surprised at how quickly I got sucked in to this story. Most likely because my own beliefs echo those of Lib. She’s a pragmatist, a realist, as am I, so her view of religion and those zealots that she comes across in the book, really struck a chord with me. The kind of chord that makes me see myself in print every once in a while.

Synopsis: This story follows Elizabeth “Lib” Wright as she travels from London to the middle of Ireland where she has been hired to take care of a sick patient. She’s not provided with much information other than the fact that the people who hired her specifically requested a nurse trained by Florence Nightingale. When she arrives at her patient’s house, she discovers that she is going to be keeping watch over a young girl who claims to have survived on nothing other than Manna from Heaven for the last couple of months. Her and a traveling nun were both hired to watch young Anna and expose her claim as a farce (or so Lib believes) or confirm that the girl is a miracle (as the nun would believe). Though we find out much later that there is more to the story that just a miraculous girl.

While I did find the reading disjointed at times, I gave this book a 3 out of 5 because I like the topics of discussion that this book engenders. We are essentially given two view points in this novel, that of a believer and a non-believer. Lib is the staunch non-believer, while her counterpart, the nun, is a solid believer in the power of Christ and miracles. We also get to watch Lib’s views develop over the length of the story. She goes from a nurse trained to remain detached from her patients and to care for them to a woman who can no longer stand by when she knows she can fix the problem.

This is not to say that Lib doesn’t have her own issues like (see Goodreads for SPOILER)… Although I can’t say I was really mad about that. This definitely gave me a good think about what it was like, and what it probably still is like, in areas where religion is the major rule of law and innocent parties who don’t know anything different end up suffering because that is what their societal community expects.

Definitely a thought-provoking read!

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