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

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
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's review
Mar 28, 2008

it was ok
Read in March, 2008

I have to say that I liked this book. But, I was greatly disappointed in it. I came to the book knowing of the sacrifice of that village and knowing, too, that when people sacrifice in such a way they are abundantly blessed by God. Unfortunately, the latter was completely missing in this book. It is easy to be an onlooker to suffering and assume that you’ve seen the injustice and the loss and the pain and that there is nothing else to see. This is not only completely at odds with everything I believe to be true but also at odds with people I know who have suffered and the tales they tell of the comfort they have received. In the not too far distant history of my own people there is a sad tale of suffering and deaths of the daily “will this never end?” type. However, unlike the survivors of Eyam, we have their own words of the experience and as one survivor said, “The price we paid to become acquainted with God was a privilege to pay.” Surely there were miracles in that village as they sacrificed for the good of their people. Surely God walked with them. Surely there were wonders. Unfortunately there was nothing of this in the book. We are left only with what the author assumes would be left after such a year – a rector who no longer believes and a village that doesn’t either. You can write a lot of things from our atheistic, modern standpoint, but in the matter of a village who sacrificed for their fellow man in the name of a God in whom they all believed, you can not write and get it right. You can not write of such things and leave God out. It leaves out half of the story and the most important half at that. My guess is that those villagers were never the same, but not in the hopeless way the author assumes. My guess is that for those villagers, they never had to look to the skies and wonder anymore if God was there and if He were listening, because my guess is that for them, all doubt had been swept away. They now knew He was there because He had walked with them in their year of wonders. That was the story I wanted to hear.
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06/22/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Bobbi Bravo! Great point. Great review. Not so great book after all.

Linda Good review!

Ashley I wholeheartedly agree with your review. I was very disappointed, and felt that it was unrealistic to the story, in the complete undoing of faith for Anna and Michael.

Angela I completely disagree. I think that there is no way that people who's god had so utterly failed them after making such a sacrifice for the good of their fellow man could maintain their faith. With their family and friends gone there would be no choice but to leave and start new lest they go mad from the constant reminder of their loss.

message 5: by Steph (new)

Steph In order for an author to write about God, they first need to know God in their heart, otherwise it just becomes a story that is flat and lacks the main ingredients to make it a story of courage and faith.

Abigail Polston A response to this might be the way Anna briefly stops and thinks about the plague as "a thing that happens in nature, and not a punishment or test from God." The tragedy just happened, and some people surely came away from it thoroughly broken with no sense of blessedness, while others recognized something far beyond themselves in the tragedy that happened.

The ending, though so many people hate it, pictures those two responses. Anna is horrified when she realizes that the Mr Mompellion has no faith in this God that brought them through their tragedy (his faith disappeared when he lost his wife). So many villagers clung to that faith as a simple and necessary truth, and it helped them survive without going insane. People respond in both ways to great tragedy.

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