Jennifer's Reviews > Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
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's review
Jul 03, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: first-read-in-adulthood, mildly-diverting, historical-fiction, on-loan
Read in March, 2011

as most of the reviewers have said, this book really suffers from its ending. most of the book is a solid four stars, but the last chapter and the epilogue were one of the defining "what the- are you kidding me?" moments of my fiction-reading life. the ending made no sense, came out of nowhere, and left me wanting to smack the author a little.

the book itself is pretty good. the village's idea is really good, and the book tries to show what might have been going on in the village, in the minds of those that stayed, and what the heroine goes through that makes her stronger. there were a few forrest gump moments in it - that is, the heroine happened to be in the right place at the right time to witness and/or help with almost everything in the village, and after a while, that got to be a little irritating. i realize it's a way to tell the story and to get everything across, but there are others in the village that i wanted to know more of.

my husband asked me recently why i read books and learn about plague and disease and all sorts of things like that. i told him that one of the reasons is that times like plague and war can bring out the best in people - hone them and try them and clearly show the strength of the human spirit. it's not the blood and the guts that interest me. i know how they work - it's how societies and individuals, both real and fictional, deal with them. it's about who gets stronger and who doesn't.

brooks really tries in her book, and should be commended, but in my opinion, a similar setting and a far better book about this same sort of thing is connie willis' Doomsday Book. it's a harder read; it's longer and of a more science-fiction bent as opposed to historical fiction, but it gets across many of the same concepts in a far superior fashion.

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