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The Donor

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  511 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Will Marion has two perfect kidneys. His daughters aren't so lucky. Question is: which one should he save? Will's 47. His wife bailed out when the twins were in nappies and hasn't been seen since. He coped OK by himself at first, giving Georgie and Kay all the love he could, working in a boring admin job to support them. Just after the twins turn sixteen, Georgie suffers k ...more
Kindle Edition, 323 pages
Published July 21st 2011 by Faber And Faber (first published July 1st 2011)
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Spoilers and swearing ahead

There aren’t many books able to make me angry. Disappointed? Yes. Annoyed? Don’t even get me started. But pissed off? That takes a whole different level of suck. And a lot of that anger is based on the fact that my expectations were completely different from what the story turned out to be, but a big part of that is also because this book sucked. Big, saggy tits.

Read the following synopsis:

Will Marion has two perfect kidneys. His daughters aren't so lucky. Question is
Les Edgerton
Nov 19, 2011 Les Edgerton rated it it was amazing
What if you were the only parent of two children and it was within your power to save one of their lives, but not both? How is such a decision even possible? How would you live with yourself whichever child you decided should live? How would the child you decided to sacrifice view you before she died? How would the child you saved regard you?

How would you look at yourself, no matter what choice you made?

I’ve just finished reading Helen FitzGerald’s novel, The Donor, which poses this very same pr
Jun 07, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
I've read the Amazon reviews on this one with increasing incredulity. Recommended to fans of Diane Chamberlain and Jodi Picoult? Really? This is a really black tale set in Glasgow, set among the useless and hopeless, with some of the most disfunctional and unlikeable characters I've ever come across. Will is boredom personified, Georgie (one daughter) is someone you'd cross the street to avoid, Kay, the other daughter, is so perfect she could sprout wings. The mother - selfish drug addict with n ...more
Bill Kupersmith
Mar 10, 2013 Bill Kupersmith rated it liked it
I did not expect that The Donor would be as laugh-out-loud off-the-wall as Dead Lovely or an ingenue as endearing as Bronny in The Devil's Staircase, yet I was very disappointed and suspect that Helen Fitzgerald's powers of invention failed with this book, in which a clueless and ineffective father has to decide which of his twin daughters will get one of his kidneys. At scarcely a third of the way into the book a simple and quite plausible twist in the plot occurred to me that would take care o ...more
Tea Time with Marce
Jan 18, 2013 Tea Time with Marce rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-on-kindle
From my blog

What an emotional thriller. A single father with twin daughters who were abandoned by the heroine addict mother. This book has young adult scenarios, drugs, violence, organ donor info and parenting all wrapped up in this tragic sad story.

The Donor was told by all characters which I enjoyed, but mainly Will, the father. The voices were distinct but the overall style at times didn't flow, something felt off to me.

Such a sweet story at first, the unique spin of having a single father b
JJ Marsh
Mar 26, 2012 JJ Marsh rated it it was amazing
I found this thoroughly enjoyable and thought about it for a long time later. Something about the way the author chooses characters which are not easy to like and puts them in circumstances where they are forced to make a choice of personality really appealed to me.
It's a peculiar mixture of painful and funny, the humour as dark as it gets. The book confronts horrible questions such as who to save, why you hate your parent(s) and what love really involves.
Each individual has fallen into a patt
Jul 17, 2012 Luca rated it it was amazing
Yeah, yeah, so I've gone soft OK. You're looking at that book cover and thinking "Is he reviewing Chick-Lit now?" Well I'm here to tell you, this aint no fluffy love story with a ridiculously overblown plot (girl meets guy, he's a bad boy, but she wants to tame him, they shag and he doesn't call, he realises he loves her, she forgives and forgets, they get together, get married and live happily ever after. The End.) 'The Donor' epitomises the phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover". And I'll te ...more
This book is, frankly, trashy. Really trashy. The characters are paper-thin (the dutiful but boring dad! the flighty drug-addict runaway mum! her scumbag husband! the bad twin, all sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll and screaming fits! the good twin, all saintly halo and perfect temper!) and never once ascend above the annoying stereotypes they have been given. The twins are particularly frustrating characters - Georgie, the "bad" twin, is not "bad" in as in "evil", but she is foul-tempered, foul-m ...more
Mirjam Penning
May 09, 2014 Mirjam Penning rated it really liked it
I was surprised how much I liked this book. Usually I read true crime, fiction crime, self-help books or books themed Iran. This one just kind of fell into my lap and I gave it a shot.

The characters are thought out.
There are three 'voices' in the book who tell this story. The author, the father character and one of his twin daughters. Nicely done.

I wasn't sure how the story would end, but the author wrapped that ending up very well. It all seemed to fit and I wasn't left with questions.

Heavy su
Annabel Rose
Jan 03, 2013 Annabel Rose rated it it was amazing
This book is one which remained on my mind long after I finished it- dark, and very real, but the characters are amazing. It kept me hooked- I was very anti-social for a few days as I dedicated every spare second to devouring the next page, and the ending was great, too. I felt it did the book as a whole justice, and I liked the way in which the entire story was very real, the characters especially, with a certain depth which meant that I didn't feel able to form all encompassing judgements upon ...more
Aug 16, 2014 Aria rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Review can also be found here.

Warning: Spoilers

When I read the first chapter of the book, I thought ‘Crap, did Will kill himself in the end just to save his daughters?!’ and hurriedly proceeded to finish the whole story. Fortunately (sort of), he didn’t but I have to say that it’s the most messed up book that I’ve ever read. Not in the sense of storyline or the twists but rather, the confusing changes of POVs. I couldn’t even figure out who’s the other POV that I was reading until I read a goo
May 20, 2012 Kirsty rated it liked it
Shelves: trashy-fun
When I say 'page-turner', I really mean it. I didn't even stop reading for mealtimes or to go to the loo; instead I carried the book with me, navigating with my peripheral vision. Sure, some of the dialogue was jarringly cheesy and the characters were cardboard cutouts (the junkie mother and bad-boy criminal in particular), but I was turning the pages so fast that I barely noticed! Great fun.
Jan 14, 2012 Allie rated it really liked it
I found this book a little depressing in places but it was a very emotional read, covering a huge moral dilemma topic. Its very different from her other work but I'd recommend it, as long as you aren't looking for a light-hearted read!
Nov 29, 2011 Stephanie rated it liked it
Was an ok book but very predictable . The ending seemed to all happen very suddenly , I even checked to see if there were pages missing at the end of the book !
Nov 07, 2014 Korey rated it liked it
This is the type of book that is a super fast read best gulped down quickly by the reader. It is a briskly paced page turner with a plot that is entertaining enough in the moment though pretty contrived if subjected to any scrutiny. This book veers between clever and stupid. Tonally it was quite different than what I expected: Fitzgerald writes in a very unemotional, matter of fact, at times darkly comic way. I found this approach to the material interesting. This is not a deep book by any stret ...more
Jul 13, 2013 Fiona rated it really liked it
Will's wife walks out on him for a life of drugs with a criminal she grew up in foster care with. She leaves behind her their twin girls and so Will has to adapt to raising them single handedly. Georgie is sullen, always being nasty to her father and hard work from the day she left the womb. Kay is the complete opposite, sunny natured and a delight to raise. But when they turn 16 things start to go wrong, both girls are diagnosed with failing kidneys and the only thing keeping them alive tempora ...more
Shelly Cole
Feb 29, 2012 Shelly Cole rated it really liked it
Will Marion has the worst decision ever to make. His twin daughters have kidney failure and they need a transplant. Which one will he choose to give his kidney to?

This is the first book I have read by Helen Fitzgerald and I have to say that I loved it. It was so well written and kept you hooked from page 1. Will, the Father, is a spineless and lazy man who gets walked over by his junkie wife Cynthia who then up and leaves him with the 3 year old twins. You would expect him then to get his life t
Feb 18, 2013 Smitha rated it really liked it
Will Marion is a single father with two sixteen year old daughters. His wife abandoned him and their three year old daughters and took off with her long time lover. They haven’t heard from her since, and Will has been doing everything he could to take care of the them. Even if it meant he had to give up his dreams, even if it meant that he had to give up life as he knew it. His world revolved around his daughters, Georgia and Kay.

Kay was sweet, mild tempered, a smiling happy baby, who stayed tha
Megan Tyldsley
Jul 17, 2014 Megan Tyldsley rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult
This book has just got WAY too many things going on!! A book about twins needed a kidney transplant and only one match is expected to be a good gripping novel but shovel on the amount of drama and events happening in this book and its pretty much ruined. The concept was there for a great book but unfortunately the execution just wasn't.

After reading Jodi Picoult - A Change Of Heart this book really did not meet my expectations. So instead of this book i would definitely recommend Jodi Picoult's
May 22, 2013 Alyson rated it it was ok
For several days after finishing this I pondered over why I wasn't raving over it. Eventually it came to me - I didn't empathise with the characters. None of them.

I think also I was expecting a literary tear jerker, based on the cover and the blurb. Maybe a sort of sad Anne Tyler, or Anita Shrive. However, the book didn't really live up to those expectations. It was druggy, sweary, and comic in places. None of those are bad things in themselves, it's just that I wasn't really expecting them in
Pat Osment
Oct 16, 2014 Pat Osment rated it liked it
Quite a strange read really,on the one hand an emotional tale of Will who is trying to save the lives of his"daughters"by working out how to get them donor kidneys but on the other hand it was a story showing how little some people value their lives by abusing them with drugs and drink.There were moments of black humour and a couple of good twists at the end.although not one of the greatest books I've read I did enjoy it
Jan 01, 2014 Leanne rated it it was ok
Shelves: waste-of-time
One word review: Meh.

One sentence: A thoroughly predictable, slightly trashy quick read that still manages to maintain enough interest to keep you turning the pages.

One paragraph: Definitely not the tear-jerker I expected. I couldn't empathise with any of the characters, they were all very two dimensional and rarely if ever did anything that elevated them from their lazy stereotypes. As I said above, it was thoroughly predictable - I had the 'big' plot twist and the ending figured out the first
Jan 30, 2015 Frances rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible, audio-2015
sometimes while listening to this one I wasn't sure if I liked it, certainly several of the carachters where unlikeable , I presume this was the authors intention. I didn't understand why the author chose to start the book with the ending, but it all made sense in the end , and was actually rather cleaverly put toghether .
Hazel McHaffie
Aug 03, 2012 Hazel McHaffie rated it liked it
I bought this because a) it's dealing with a subject I'm currently writing about and b) I'm due to attend a session at the Edinburgh International Book Festival where this author is speaking and I have to blog about it. It wasn't what I was expecting. Basically, it tells the story of Will, a single parent with two healthy kidneys. But Will also has two daughters, twins, who both need a kidney transplant. How far will he go to save the lives of his girls? But this is no tender tear-jerker. Fitzge ...more
May 15, 2014 Pam rated it really liked it
A good read. Certainly a sleep-stealer! However, I might be a bit biased - as a Scottish expat who lived in Glasgow for many years, I absolutely loved the setting! Every mention of the Southside, St Enoch Centre, Merchant City, Buchanan Street, Sauchihall Street etc brought back fond memories :-)
Kylie G
Apr 07, 2014 Kylie G rated it did not like it
for such a poor rating it did keep me reading. will's only redeeming feature is that he stayed by his kids, other than that he needs a bloody kick up the arse. this book had so much potential but for me, really failed to deliver.
Jan 19, 2013 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised at this novel after reading the not brilliant Bloody Women. It's a good read actually!

The novel does rely on the experiences of one of the twins more heavily than the other but it's told with a black humour that, given the subject matter (transplant and death) was a refreshing change. You can actually see how in the circumstances you would have to laugh - or you'd go under! With any luck it may just make people in the UK sign the organ donor register thus making the al
Oct 12, 2011 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Will is a loser; his writing career was a non-starter and his wife left him. But this story isn’t about these things; it’s about the advancing kidney disease of both of the twin daughters his wife left him with, and Will’s efforts to save them. Fitzgerald creates a small unit of exquisitely flawed characters who, despite their disparities, are impossible to not empathise with. At times outright hilarious, this book entertains and enthrals the reader whilst focusing intensely on the disquietingly ...more
Feb 22, 2016 Chloe rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this. It sounded so good: Will Marion has two perfect kidneys. His twin daughters aren't so lucky, they are very unwell and need kidney transplants. Question is: which one should he save? Sounds like a Jodi Picoult type story, right? Wrong.

There's just too much weirdness happening for me. I began to feel like I didn't care what happened to anyone!

One star ratings are very hard for me to give, but I just can't find much to like about this book. However, I give it two stars
Mar 01, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing
really loved this book, the characters were all great, was funny and sad, bit of a different story to tell than most. definately a should read book.
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Helen FitzGerald is the second youngest of thirteen children. She grew up in the small town of Kilmore, Victoria, Australia, and studied English and History at the University of Melbourne. Via India and London, Helen came to Glasgow University where she completed a Diploma and Masters in Social Work. She works part time as a criminal justice social worker in Glasgow. She's married to screenwriter ...more
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