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The Wonder

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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  38,242 Ratings  ·  5,276 Reviews
In the latest masterpiece by Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room, an English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child's life.

Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna
...more
Hardcover, US Edition, 291 pages
Published September 20th 2016 by Little, Brown and Company
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Tara I'm not usually the dissenter in the crowd, but as a middle school librarian I could think of one or two 8th grade advanced and mature readers who…moreI'm not usually the dissenter in the crowd, but as a middle school librarian I could think of one or two 8th grade advanced and mature readers who would read this and talk about it with an adult, which I think would be very appropriate. Potential readers would be more abundant in high school, but discussion is key. The themes are mature and dark and confusing, but don't we want them to stretch their thinking and be confronted with bigger thoughts in a historical context and the ability to share their reactions with adults and peers?(less)
Olivia Jennings Do you only read mysteries at your book club? I'd say this book fits. It's not a conventional mystery, but the question at the heart of the book keeps…moreDo you only read mysteries at your book club? I'd say this book fits. It's not a conventional mystery, but the question at the heart of the book keeps you reading. We're doing this one for our book club.(less)

Community Reviews

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Emily May
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Lib had a dizzying sense that time could fall into itself like the embers. That in these dim huts nothing had changed since the age of the Druids and nothing ever would. What was that line in the hymn they’d sung at Lib’s school? The night is dark, and I am far from home.

I loved this book so much. So much. I can easily see why it won't be for everyone - truth be told, the plot moves fairly slow - but I was just so engrossed in the story and atmosphere. I suppose it just depends how much this k
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Elyse
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
NO SPOILERS AT ALL in this review:

"More Water?" She offered the spoon.
"Anna's eyelids flickered but didn't open; she shook her head. "Be it done to me".
I kept thinking about "Be it done to me". What's the source of an 11 year old girl feeling resigned -powerless? Or, do those words mean something else, altogether to the child?

A little girl won't eat. Religious reasons? Something else?
Her parents are convinced she can live without food.
Incredible? skeptical? Outrageous fraud?
There have been
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Deanna
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

I've only read one other book by Emma Donoghue but I loved it. "Room" is one of my favorite books. Because I enjoyed it so much I was worried that anything else I read from the author would pale in comparison. However, after reading the description for "The Wonder" I was very intrigued.

Eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell has become somewhat of a tourist attraction. A miracle girl who has apparently survived for four months witho
...more
Larry H
Sep 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Emotional, at times disturbing, and tremendously thought-provoking, The Wonder once again demonstrates the sheer power of Emma Donoghue's storytelling ability, which first dazzled me with the extraordinary Room .

Lib Wright was a nurse alongside Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War, escaping her own personal issues. But after the war, even for a Nightingale Nurse, life is monotonous; she is treated with disdain by her supervisors and fellow nurses, and is left to little more than menial
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Cheri
May 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Edit: Available to order or purchase!

Edit#2: I've thought of this everyday since I finished reading it, and am changing my rating to 5 Stars, as well.

Lib is a nurse, a Nightingale, trained by Florence N. herself. She is living in London, when she’s called to Athlone, Ireland, smack dab in the middle of Ireland, for a two-week nursing task in a private capacity. She arrives at her housing, a room above a small grocery, after a lengthy and bumpy ride in a jaunting car. She can’t believe anything
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Dem
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars
Spell Binding and so atmospheric, The Wonder is one of the best Irish historical novels I have read in a very long time where facts and fiction come together to create a story that gets under your skin.


Clearly the Irish Midlands were a depression where wet pooled, the little circle in a saucer"(Quote from The Wonder)


The setting for Emma Donoghue's novel is the Irish Midlands about seven years after the end of the potatoe famine in Ireland. This location is approx 20 miles from where
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Carol
Sometimes I just want to smack characters in a book and this is one of those times!

Assigned by her mentor (Florence Nightingale) to watch over an eleven year old "miracle" child in Ireland who hasn't eaten in four months, a skeptical British nurse believes an easy task is at hand to quickly prove foul play and return home, but soon finds herself in the midst of a strangely complicated and religiously close-knit Catholic family.

Somewhat slow going while the story builds and characters are develop

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Diane S ☔
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 When Libby a nurse trained by Florence Nightingale, fought alongside of her in the Crimea, contracts to work with a family in Ireland, she has no idea what she is letting herself in for. Eleven year old, Anne, is said to have not eaten any solid food for over four months and Lib's job will be to observe her for two weeks, to see if the claims are true. She will alternate this duty with a nursing sister of the same Catholic faith as the family.

Extremely atmospheric, I felt the same frustratio
...more
Norma
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 Stars rounded up!  

First off I have never been so riled up while reading a book before as I was with this one!  I wanted to give a few characters a piece of my mind!  I wanted to throw my book at them but gently as I would never want to hurt my precious books but some of those characters sure needed to be smacked around a little!

THE WONDER by EMMA DONOGHUE was an intriguing, gripping, mesmerizing, and a beautifully written Historical Fiction novel which was set in a small Irish village from
...more
Frances
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5* Who would not wonder about a young child at the age of 11 years who will not eat and hasn’t for some four months, but seems to be flourishing without eating so much as a crumb. Born into the religious O’Donnell family, they all rally around the girl and believe her to be thriving by the special providence of the Almighty. The local Doctor McBrearty residing in the tiny town of Athlone, Ireland knows the family well and is unhappy with the newspapers reports not believing the story by implyi ...more
Joey Woolfardis
This review can be found on Amaranthine Reads.

A young girl in Ireland has supposedly lived on no food at all for months on end, claiming that she is living off "manna from heaven" and English nurse Lib has been sent over from England to watch her to make sure the claim is valid. Surrounded by religious superstition, Lib must get to the bottom of the miracle-or stop the destruction of a young girl's life.

This book was basically a short story fleshed out with too much inner monologue and chatter a
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Linda
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Everybody was a repository of secrets."

Emma Donoghue presents the multifaceted story of a young English nurse, Lib Wright, who has been assigned to a remote Irish village. As a well-trained apprentice of the famous Florence Nightingale, Lib has attended to the needs of many a patient, especially those wracked with wounds and eventual death during the Crimean War.

But this patient.....This patient is a frail smidge of an eleven year old lass who has not taken food in four months according to her
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Matthew
Hmmmm . . . well, not too sure about this one. I enjoyed it okay, but it made me uncomfortable and I wasn’t satisfied with the plot progression. I am not sure that I have a great way to explain it other than it is a “feeling” I have.

I actually probably felt more comfortable with the writing in this one than I did with Room and Frog Music and I found myself into the plot much sooner than I did with both of those. But, I just couldn’t get comfortable with what was happening in this story. It reall
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Amalia Gavea
''...and besides, we should speak nothing but good of the dead.''

For me, The Wonder was one of the most anticipated novels of the year. It ticked all the right boxes: Ireland, Florence Nightingale's nurses, ambiguous religious issues, provincial superstitions. So, once it knocked on my door, I started reading it immediately.

We find ourselves following Lib, a young, educated nurse, trained by the legend called Florence Nightingale, to beautiful, mystical Ireland and on a strange mission, a few
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Taryn
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Stars. Eleven-year-old Anna O' Donnell insists that she's been living off the manna of heaven for the last four months and no longer needs food to survive. Her parents and community seem to blindly accept the claim. People travel from great distances for a chance to interact with this living miracle. To appease any skeptics, a committee hires two watchers to observe Anna over a two-week period. One of the watchers is Lib Wright, a nurse who worked under Florence Nightingale during the Crimea ...more
Cathrine ☯️
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5★
This story about the investigation into claims of a young Irish Catholic girl living on nothing but water for four months was initially slow to engage me. I think this was because I disliked the main protagonist so strongly.
Town and church officials have hired an outsider to continually monitor the girl-wonder to try and discern the truth. Lib is educated and harshly skeptical, believing she will unlock the mystery quickly to expose a ruse. But there is more going on than she knows and Anna
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Julie
Nov 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Wonder, by Emma Donoghue is a 2016 Little, Brown and Company publication.


‘Room’ is the only book I had read by this author before this one. I was so impressed with that novel, I put this on hold at the library, the instant it was released, but by the time it became available, after a whopping two month wait period, I’d already forgotten what the synopsis was, and my interest had waned somewhat.

That, and the very different subject matter, the depressing tone, and the very slow pacing made th
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Sue
THE WONDER by bestselling author Emma Donoghue is an example of an excellent piece of storytelling. Donoghue writes convincing and vivid historical fiction. I was drawn into the book right from the beginning. Having loved “THE ROOM”, I was eager to read this novel.

The setting for Emma Donoghue's novel is a small Irish village in the Irish Midlands after the end of the potato famine in Ireland in 1850s rural Ireland. The author really captures a wonderful sense of time and place. Emma Donoghue is
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Liz
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very different sort of mystery. Anna O'Donnell has supposedly not eaten for four months when Lib Wright is brought on as a nurse to monitor whether she is actually taking nourishment somehow. Is someone feeding her? Is she truly a religious miracle or is she “hysterical” as one doctor supposes? You quickly get caught up in trying to determine this young girl’s situation. And as Lib’s concerns go from trying to catch her out to worrying about her health, so did my concerns shift.

I found this t
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Maxwell
Nov 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own-it, ireland, 2016, botm
"Fate was faceless, life arbitrary, a tale told by an idiot. Except at rare moments such as this one, when one glimpsed a way of wrestling it into a better shape."

In The Wonder, Emma Donoghue—most notable for her novel Room and film adaptation of the same name—questions human and divine agency. Lib Wright, a nurse trained in the Crimea under Florence Nightingale, is dispatched to central Ireland to watch over a young girl named Anna. For the past four months Anna has allegedly eaten nothing, and
...more
Jan
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be on a 'Meh' roll these days...

The beginning started out promising, the last 30 pages were fantastic, but the in between was really slow and boring.

Trained by Florence Nightingale, Nurse Libby is requested to stand 'watch' over a child who has apparently not eaten a thing in 4 months, yet remains alive and vibrant. Between Libby and a nun, they are to take shifts so the child (Abby) is never alone, helping to ensure that this is not a hoax.

Set in a small Irish village where Religion r
...more
Jennifer
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Deep in the heart of Ireland, villagers claim to be in the midst of a miracle. Eleven year old Anna O'Donnell is said to have survived for four months without any food any only a few teaspoons of water per day. Pilgrims come in droves to see the devout girl, paying their alms (which fatten the coffers of the local parish).

But is it a miracle, or is it hoax? To substantiate the claims, men from the town choose two women to keep watch over Anna 24 hours a day for 2 weeks to see if she is taking i
...more
Peter Boyle
Will Emma Donoghue ever top the success of Room? The Booker-shortlisted, Oscar-generating novel was a huge hit with readers and critics alike. Frog Music, her next effort, didn't quite strike the same chord with audiences and seems underappreciated. I believe The Wonder falls somewhere between the two - a fascinating, flawed and crowd-pleasing story.

The action takes place in the starved and poverty-stricken Irish midlands, a few years after the Great Famine. Lib Wright, an English nurse, has bee
...more
Melki
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
"She's not exactly ill. Your only duty will be to watch her."

A British nurse is sent to sit with the marvelous "fasting girl" who lives in a small town in Ireland. Though it's been four months since young Anna has taken a bite of food, she seems no worse for wear. The villagers are hoping this girl is indeed a miracle, possibly even a candidate for sainthood. Anna herself has become convinced that she is surviving on "manna from heaven." Now it's Elizabeth "Lib" Wright's job to determine if some
...more
Meredith
May 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
The Wonder is a beautifully written novel that takes place in the mid-nineteenth century in a small Irish village. It’s easily one of my favorite books of 2016.

Nightingale trained English nurse, Lib Wright, is commissioned for a unique charge in Ireland. It is not until she arrives in the village of Athlone that it is revealed that she is there to observe 11-year old Anna O’Donnell who has not eaten for four months. Lib’s job is clear: she is to watch Anna at all times (she shares her shifts wit
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

3.5 Stars

“Good nurses follow the rules, but the best know when to break them.”

In a small Irish village, a modern day miracle is occurring . . .



Unfortunately, not one quite as impressive as Cheeto Jesus, but still something worth talking about. According to her family and all casual observers young Anna O’Donnell has not had even a bite to eat for the past four months. Lib Wright has taken on an assignment as Anna’s nurse, but upon
...more
Jean Menzies
Aug 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was a little apprehensive to pick up Emma Donoghue’s latest novel. Having previously read two of her other works and absolutely adored both I had high expectations for anything else she wrote. High expectations, can, sometimes be a terrible burden for any book to handle. The Wonder, however, bore my hopes steadfastly throughout my reading experience and assured me that Donoghue’s beautiful prose are here to stay.

The story is set in 1850’s Ireland and follows our protagonist Libby, an Englishwo
...more
Erin Clemence
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The Wonder” is the newest novel by author Emma Donoghue. I could not wait to read this book, and once I met the author at a book signing event, my excitement grew even more.
“The Wonder” takes place in a small community in Ireland, in 1850, when a young, very Catholic (and yes, the “very” is important) eleven year old girl named Anna O’Connor appears to be surviving and thriving after more than four months without food. Attracting tourists and medical professionals alike, the country is abuzz w
...more
Angel Erin
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was ok
http://angelerin.blogspot.com/2016/09...

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free ebook copy of The Wonder By: Emma Donoghue in exchange for an honest review.

Short Review Summary:
Lots of boredom, very little wonder.

The Wonder started off very slow for me. It took too long for Lib (and the reader) to meet Anna. When I first read the summary for this book I couldn't wait to see what Anna would be like. Would she appear healthy? What about her personality? What is this child like that believes
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Rebecca Foster
(Nearly 4.5) A nurse investigates the case of an Irish girl surviving without food for months: miracle or hoax? The novel draws on about 50 historical cases of “Fasting Girls” that occurred in Europe and North America in the 16th to 20th centuries. It sets up a particularly effective contrast between medicine and superstition, that “fug of the ineffable” that so troubles Lib. Donoghue writes convincing and vivid historical fiction, peppering the text with small details about everything from lite ...more
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Emma is the youngest of eight children of Frances and Denis Donoghue. She attended Catholic convent schools in Dublin, apart from one year in New York at the age of ten. In 1990 she earned a first-class honours BA in English and French from University College Dublin, and in 1997 a PhD (on the concept of friendship between men and women in eighteenth-century English fiction) from the University of ...more
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“A fast didn't go fast; it was the slowest thing there was. Fast meant a door shut fast, firmly. A fastness, a fortress. To fast was to hold fast to emptiness, to say no and no and no again.” 14 likes
“Good nurses follow rules,” Lib growled, “but the best know when to break them.” 11 likes
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