Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Two Years of Wonder” as Want to Read:
Two Years of Wonder
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Two Years of Wonder

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  30 ratings  ·  21 reviews
September 25, 2012 Ted Neill picked up a knife to cut his wrists open and kill himself. Post hospitalization and treatment for major depressive disorder, he wrote Two Years of Wonder, an autobiographical novel based on his journey towards recovery. In it, he examines the experience that left him with such despair: living and working for two years at an orphanage for childr ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Two Years of Wonder, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Two Years of Wonder

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  30 ratings  ·  21 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Two Years of Wonder
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Wonder” is the key element of this memoir, punctuated by a fictionalized series of stories about African children living in children’s homes in Nairobi, Kenya, primarily in the Rainbow Children’s Home. How Ted Neill integrates his own experience as an aid worker with that of the children in an ongoing narrative makes for fascinating and heart-wrenching reading. Just as he tells his own back story from the turning point of where he seeks to participate in his own emotional and spiritual recovery ...more
Kathleen Garber
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me a lot to think about. My opinions on the book changed from the first few pages to the rest as well. First I want to sate, this book is hard to read. Not because of big words or poor writing, but because of the topics Ted writes about. Children dying and not only dying, but suffering. HIV, poverty, abuse, discrimination and mental illness. The first four happening to the people of Kenya and the last one about himself.

I was a little unsure of the book at first because in the intr
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Neill recounts his years of volunteering with HIV/AIDS afflicted children, the suffering they endured, and the resilience these brave children showed despite unimaginable pain and loss. Moreover, he shares that although seeing the suffering first hand led to a major depressive episode and hospitalization, he ultimately found hope and healing.

Where should I begin? While this is billed as a memoir that Neill has written documenting his journey to recovery from being ready to kill himself to findin
Reader Views
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by Skyler Boudreau for Reader Views (12/19)

“Two Years of Wonder” is an autobiographical account based on author Ted Neill’s recovery after hospitalization for major depression and an attempted suicide. In this book, he explores his time working in an orphanage for children afflicted with HIV/AIDS, an experience that left him emotionally raw and despondent.

Neill describes depression with a blunt honesty saying, “My self-esteem eroded, replaced by a toxic self-hate that grew into self-loa
Janet S
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A child of the fast-paced future-focused 1980s, Ted Neill followed a complicated path to one of the oldest professions in the world: storyteller. TWO YEARS OF WONDER is a memoir of his young-adult years in the early 2000s-- volunteer work with HIV-positive children in the U.S. and Kenya, a stint at CARE, and final recognition that the way to reconcile his idealism with the terrors of reality was through telling stories that let readers travel with him, sharing sights, sounds, experiences and emo ...more
Willow Moon Greymoor
Heart-wrenching story imbued with brutal honesty!

Ted Neil’s story is nothing short of inspiring and courageous. Being an empath, I could feel the pain from every heartbreaking story of his experience working with orphans in Africa. Ted doesn’t spare the reader from any details of the brutal inhumane abuse the children at the orphanage where he worked had suffered. HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse, poverty, disease, substance abuse and generational abuse were some of the issues that Ted faced while working
Veronica Richard
Ted Neill's "Two Years of Wonder" is an amazingly, thought-provoking autobiographical novel based on his journey towards recovery.

In 2012, Neill wanted to kill himself. He became clinically depressed after spending two years volunteering at an AIDS/HIV+ children's orphanage in Africa. He felt he didn't do enough to help. That he was just like every other "white knight" coming to help and then leaving. Through his treatment he learned that he might not have been there for a long time, but he had
Charles Hanna
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found Ted Neil’s autobiographical narrative to be a thoughtful reflection on his philanthropic career helping those unfortunate souls (young and old) impacted by the HIV crisis both in the states and in Africa.

But the book is far more than a dry recounting of anecdotes and people he met along the way. It is a pensive statement about the the things that divide and/or connect us, such as barriers created by contrasting skin colors and levels of formal education, or the unavoidable commonality of
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir by Ted Neill is an exceptional piece of writing. Any work in this day and age that refers to charity or aid organisations, particularly overseas, too easily falls into the trap of becoming a 'white saviour' story. Even with the best of intentions, stories like this can too simply focus on the conditions of those receiving aid, with the impression that those giving it are somehow objective and/or somehow elevated above the situation. Not so with Two Years of Wonder. Neill tells how hi ...more
sophie clark
This memoir explores Neill’s experiences in Africa, while also weaving in stories of a variety of African children (composites of those he met) impacted by HIV/AIDS. It is important to point out that the author doesn’t construct a white saviour narrative in this memoir. He points out that in the beginning he saw himself in the role of an objective helper, bringing comfort to the afflicted without ever suffering himself. As the memoir goes on and Neill is drawn further into the lives of many chil ...more
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Firstly, Ted Neill is a great storyteller.
His voice is unique, and he is a master of narrative. The story draws you in, and all of the characters become real to you.
I know that in this particular book most of the characters in question are in fact real. Neill makes them real for me. I care about these people that I was not aware of prior to reading this book.
Neill maintains a genuine presence throughout the stories, and makes the content relatable. This is serious business, heart-wrenching mater
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One common factor that a lot of writers share is a full and vivid imagination. Unfortunately, that gift often leads to another common condition: clinical depression. Like others in his craft, Ted Neill became a master storyteller, and found himself haunted by the disconnections that mental state inflicts upon its victim. Drawing upon treatments and his own personal strength, he fought his way back from an ever widening hole.

During those battles, he found wonder to help further his healing by vol
Genilee Swope
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful words

I discovered this book by accident but know the author , who wrote some of the most compelling stories in a newsletter I do for an aids org. I recognized some of the stories. What I could not know was what ted went through in the early days of efforts to help children in Kenya orphaned and affected by this terrible disease. I applaud ted for having having the courage to expose his own pain to tell the story in the most honest way possible. Through eyes that saw it all first hand. T
Amanda Waters
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author narrates a somewhat fictionalized account that is partially about two years spent working in Kenya at a group home for children with HIV, and partially about his struggle with mental illness during and shortly after his time in Kenya. The book is an honest look at the realities of poverty and injustice, particularly in developing countries , juxtaposed against the internal conflict the author experienced in his desire to help and his shame at feeling like just one more person with a p ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I received a copy of this book from At times I had difficulty keeping the characters straight, as the author jumped around quite a bit. Overall, he vividly portrayed the suffering and challenges of children afflicted with the AIDs virus. I can understand how this experience would cause him to feel both powerless and severely depressed. It was inspiring to read of the courage and strength of these children, and like the author I was drawn to several of the children he ...more
Ellie Poujade-scott
What an emotional but fascinating read

I highly enjoyed the young adult book that accompanies this one.
But this book got me to tears moor than once sop have tissues handy. Definitely written by someone who had planned to be in journalism.
While it was a bit hard to get through because of the entire situation (HIV/AIDS and children), I still couldn't put it down. Excellent book.
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring and compelling

This book is both inspiring and compelling. It should be made into a movie. This book takes you though the range of emotions and shows you want it means to really care and love. At times the situations in the book can be difficult to read but the core message is beautiful. It's not a quick read but it seems to go by fast as the book is so gripping. I definately recomend this book!
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting parts--learned a lot about AIDS in Africa and its impact upon people-especially children. I did find the book very disjointed. Several times I had to go back and read about a particular person/child.
Leona Sweet
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time of keeping who was who at the beginning but as I read more it was hard to see how these children suffer and watch their friends end up dying. I give Mr. Neill credit for going to this country to try and help these children when he is having problems of his own.
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved it, but felt like the author wrote too much after the story ended.
Ted Neill
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Edna Staples
This is the very first book that I have read from this Author and its a very good book and I like how he starts out with the current date then backtracks to the very first time. It's really good to dive into how someone was on the base of giving up and had gone through a lot. We sometimes do not know what another person is going through for certain reasons may be because they don't want to open up or they will fear that the other person may end up running their mouths about them. I know a few th ...more
Susan “Sam”
rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2018
Elyce Hornor
rated it it was amazing
Nov 28, 2018
Melissa Cheresnick
rated it it was amazing
Apr 13, 2019
Sophia Walton
rated it really liked it
May 16, 2021
Skyler Boudreau
rated it it was amazing
Dec 14, 2019
rated it it was amazing
Dec 23, 2018
Ellen Kelly
rated it really liked it
Jan 13, 2019
Amber Griffith
rated it liked it
Jan 06, 2019
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • As the Shadow Rises (The Age of Darkness, #2)
  • The Paper Girl of Paris
  • The 100 (The 100, #1)
  • The Giver Quartet
  • Day 21 (The 100, #2)
  • The Mystery Shopper Training Program: All you ever wanted to know about the best part-time job
  • The Passion of Dolssa
  • Graduation Day (The Testing, #3)
  • A Throne for Sisters (A Throne for Sisters, #1)
  • The Brilliant Death (The Brilliant Death, #1)
  • All Rights Reserved (Word$, #1)
  • Ignite the Sun
  • The Storm of Life (The Brilliant Death, #2)
  • Big Water
  • Independent Study (The Testing, #2)
  • Virals (Virals, #1)
  • The Kingdom of Back
  • Nightfall
See similar books…
Globetrotter and writer Ted Neill has worked on five continents as an educator, health professional, and journalist. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Recovery Today, and he has published a number of novels exploring issues related to science, religion, class, and social justice. He is the 2013 winner of the Martin Luther King Jr. Torch of Peace Award. His 2017 novel, The Selah Bran ...more

Related Articles

Let's face it: Being cooped up inside during the pandemic has left a lot of us searching for a sense of connection with one another. Memoirs...
37 likes · 9 comments
“I had heard someone on the radio once say that being depressed was like having your hand slammed in the door, over and over, but without even the relief that might come when the door pulls back for another swing. It’s that moment of impact, shock that is prolonged, interminably.” 0 likes
More quotes…