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Agnes of God

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  6,040 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Drama / Characters: 3 FemalesSummoned to a covent, Dr. Martha Livingstone, a court-appointed psychiatrist, is charged with assessing the sanity of a young novitiat accused of murdering her newborn. Miriam Ruth, the Mother Superior, determindly keeps young Agnes from the doctor, arousing Livingstone's suspicions further. Who killed the infant and who fathered the tiny victi ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Samuel French, Inc. (first published January 1st 1982)
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Feb 15, 2009 Martha rated it liked it
I read this book for a class I'm teaching. Very interesting from a psychology standpoint, incredibly sad from a personal standpoint. The characters are fascinating and the way their lives are intertwined make for a gut-wrenching read.
Aug 01, 2011 Playwright42 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like to think of it at the play that would be if Alan from Equus was a nun instead of a boy. It doesn't get into her head as much as I would have liked though.
Mar 02, 2017 Natalie rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, plays
There are some gorgeous speeches in here, but I was not able to suspend my disbelief far enough to ever stop wanting to yell, "THIS IS NOT HOW HYPNOSIS WORKS. THIS IS NOT HOW PSYCHIATRY WORKS."
Jun 02, 2017 Cathi rated it liked it
This play is compelling and very well-written, but it's almost too disturbing for me to recommend it. I read it back in college and was distraught for days, as I thought about it. As someone said, "Why are there so many weird books, plays, and movies about nuns?" After all, most nuns are NOT weird but are just doing their best to live by their faith and good works. So I'd give the play a 4 for the compelling writing style but just a 2 for its depiction of nuns and the Catholic church.
Angel Hearn
Jul 20, 2017 Angel Hearn rated it really liked it
Fantastic story with brilliantly developed characters used this for my GCSE exam and played Agnes who is an amazing character.
Timothy Morrow
Jun 04, 2013 Timothy Morrow rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 15, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it
Agnes of God was something I thought I read in college, but I realized I hadn’t. It was actually quite good. I was worried it would be very “OMG NUNS GONE WILD” but it was a little more Mariette in Ecstasy than that, so I was pleased. (If you haven’t read Mariette in Ecstasy, I totally recommend it. It’s fantastic.) A young nun is found passed out in her room, having just given birth; a dead baby is in her wastebasket. No one in the convent knew she was pregnant; no one knows what happened to th ...more
Nov 07, 2014 Craig rated it really liked it
Shelves: screen-or-plays
Belief..."I believe these truths to be self-evident." Truth is a construct, a social construct of mutual, clashing beliefs. Then belief defines belief, and isn't that a really bad definition? This is at the heart of AGNES OF GOD: I believe I'm good. I believe in God. I believe in guilt. But belief, as a flawed system of truth, of objective, quantifiable data, does not do justice to reality. What, then, is reality? As Mother Miriam notes, "I'm interested in [the Church] as simplicity and peace." ...more
Neil Schleifer
Jun 03, 2010 Neil Schleifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: plays
What an amazing concept: let's take an horrific event, the discovery of a dead baby inside a cloistered convent, possibly born to one of the nuns, and shroud it in the mystery of religious faith. Was this a divine birth? Was this a natural death, murder or divine intervention? Is the accused a saint or a sinner? On the outside, Agnes appears to be a total innocent. But what happens to heart-felt faith when the layers of our psyche are slowly peeled away like the skin of an onion? Guarded fiercel ...more
Jun 30, 2009 Kathryn rated it it was ok
Summary: Sr. Agnes had a baby, and that baby was found dead in a trash can in her room. Dr. Livingstone (I presume) has been charged with determining her mental state for trial. What did happen to this poor innocent young woman, and is her Mother Superior covering up the father? or even the murder?

Review: One of these days I'm going to write a book, a play, a haiku, on the back of a paper napkin, a beautiful work of art that doesn't treat nuns as if they're totally crazy. Nuns = the sanest peopl
Simon Fletcher
Mar 03, 2015 Simon Fletcher rated it liked it
Shelves: plays, filmed
I remember watching the Jane Fonda, Meg Tilly film 20+ years ago and being troubled by many of the themes contained within. Themes such as the meaning of belief and the power of the mind to deceive. It blecame one of those films that lodged in my subconscious, one that, even though I couldn't remember it fully, was always there as a this needs to be seen again sometime.
I don't know why it came back to me resently as something I need to look at again but the thought that I have to revisit it was
Sep 14, 2010 Willow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastically well done as an audiobook. Recorded in front of a live audience. Narrated by Barbara Bain, Emily Bergl, and Harriet Harris.

This book came to life in the narrators' hands. Tragic, compelling and horrifying, Agnes and Dr. Livingston's pasts were spilled out for us to scrutinize. In the description of the play, there was reference made to a deeper analysis of spiritual fundamentals, but I found this was an afterthought for me. The overlying feeling I got from reading this book was pit
Aug 02, 2011 Molly rated it it was amazing
I do not understand why Pope John Paul II would ban such a wonderful play that explores Catholic theology. Pielmeier taught at American Catholic University and is well educated in theology. He does not denigrate Catholic doctrine. The play is about faith and how faith is kept or lost. In an odd casting choice, I played Dr. Livingston in "Agnes of God." The actress playing Mother Superior and the scenes between us were incendiary. I still use excerpts from this play for monologues. If you're offe ...more
Apr 21, 2012 Joanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Listened to the audiobook - saw the movie years ago.

Sister Agnes is found with a dead baby in her convenant wastepaper basket. She is being examined by a psychologist to determine not only her mental capacity, but to try and discover how this pregnancy could have happened in her secluded environment. Agnes' childhood was difficult and unconventional before she came to the convenant at age 17 after her mother's death. She's lead a sheltered life and sings like an angel. She truly believes God bro
Dec 01, 2011 Mary rated it it was amazing
Shelves: plays, favorites
I suggested this play be performed at my high school and everyone was on board. It was one of our best performances and it is one of my personal favorite plays. Playing Dr. Livingstone really taught me to be open minded about religion and spirituality and to open up concerns for others. This play has so much hidden inside of it. Time needs to be taken to disect it completely. Agnes' dreams can be carfully unraveled and Livingstone's past can be analized closely. I love the ending, especially. It ...more
Mark Woodland
Jul 28, 2011 Mark Woodland rated it it was amazing
An excellent and disturbing play about a young nun and a psychiatrist, who meet under extreme circumstances. Difficult to talk about without revealing too much of the plot, which is best experienced as you go. Unlike a lot of plays, this one comes across very well to most readers (Shakespeare, for instance, is best SEEN, not just read). This one will really get to you. A skilled live performance will leave you with chills.
Sylwia (Wish Fulfillment)
Mar 12, 2016 Sylwia (Wish Fulfillment) rated it really liked it
Why I Recommend Bumping This Up On Your TBR: It is thought-provoking (it questions faith!), it has a psychiatrist protagonist, it had 3 female protagonists whose storylines intersect, and the audiobook includes great acting.

Why You Might Bump This Down On Your TBR: It's not the most unique story ever depicted, it's possibly triggering, and it does require a bit of thought once you're finished.
David Jay
May 24, 2009 David Jay rated it liked it
Very interesting look at science vs. faith. Three great roles for women. I think, like so many plays, some of the impact is lost in reading it, as opposed to seeing it. I've seen it performed and really loved it. I also love the movie version.
Aug 11, 2014 elissa rated it it was ok
LIstened to the LA Theatre Works production, which I checked out from the Tucson Public Library. Although the playwright based this play on a true story, I felt that it did not stand the test of time.
Jan 21, 2014 Val rated it it was amazing
A brilliant little gem of a play I have been wanting to read since the 1980s. Wow. It is Catholicism but it is more than Catholicism. It is about women and faith and God and miracles and belief. I look forward to watching the movie now.
Sep 04, 2016 Cora rated it it was ok
I don't even remember when I read this. Somewhere in my teens. I wasn't impressed.
Feb 12, 2013 Almira rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, plays
I love this play because it is extremely well written. The rhythm of the dialogue is amazing, and the characters have great depth. It was a wonderful time in my life to portray Agnes when I graduated from college.
Jan Ackerson
Mar 31, 2008 Jan Ackerson rated it liked it
A cloistered nun is discovered to have given birth--very similarly to "Plain Truth", this book follows the investigation into how the pregnancy could have occurred.
Jul 09, 2014 Kaethe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: format-script
Great play with lots of drama, clever dialogue, great parts for women. Not a realistic portrayal of psychiatry, however.
Nov 19, 2009 Gina rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-star, 2015
I listened to the audio version of this, which was excellent. I saw the movie ages ago and liked it, but I think this shorter version was more haunting.
Pindari N.
Sep 07, 2010 Pindari N. rated it it was amazing
Very weird… but well written, and good.
Mar 07, 2016 Matt rated it it was amazing
Man, I keep forgetting how hard this play kicks you in the stomach.
Jul 16, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theater
Another powerful stage performance from L.A. Theater Works!
Dec 22, 2010 Kellie rated it liked it
My friend recommended it and it seemed really interesting when she described it to me. It actually was pretty interesting but it wasn't something that I would normally read.
Beth Bordelon
Jun 12, 2009 Beth Bordelon rated it really liked it
just finished re-reading it...challenging and powerful.
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“I still want to believe that somewhere, somehow, there is a happy ending for every story. It all depends on how thoroughly you look for it and how badly you need it.” 2 likes
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