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The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow: A Novel of Bright's Pond
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The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow: A Novel of Bright's Pond (Bright's Pond #1)

3.61  ·  Rating Details ·  1,185 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow" is the story of an unusual woman, Agnes Sparrow. No longer able or willing to leave her home, where she is cared for by her long-suffering sister Griselda, Agnes has committed her life to the one thing she can do-besides eat. Agnes Sparrow prays and when Agnes prays things happen, including major miracles of the cancer, ulcer-healing variety a ...more
ebook, 241 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Abingdon Press (first published June 1st 2009)
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Christa Allan
Aug 01, 2009 Christa Allan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
If I met Agnes Sparrow in person, I probably would ignore her. And that's exactly what makes Joyce Magnin's novel so captivating. She brings Agnes to us, plops her in our living rooms, and weaves the magic of her story so delicately that the weight of Agnes' body disappears in the weight of her soul.

I plan to read everything Joyce writes...even if it's only a grocery list. Her quirky, charming, and truly refreshing style is a gift.
Kara Prem
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy Piper
This book was slow at first -- I almost quit reading it. It sounded too "folksy" and simple-minded for my taste. But I am glad I kept on with it. It has some surprises and some redeeming qualities. Found myself looking forward to reading more of it. The book is written from Griselda's POV as she dutifully cares for her sister, Agnes, who is a 700 lb. invalid. Agnes has a reputation in town for praying for folks -- and very often her prayers seem to be answered. But when a mysterious drifter come ...more
Vannetta Chapman
Jun 28, 2013 Vannetta Chapman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this book, which was my second to read by Joyce Magnin. She creates wonderful characters and they keep me reading because I WANT to know what happens next. :)

This book did take a rather surprising turn 2/3 way through.
I didn't see it coming!
Before even finishing it, I had ordered the rest in the series.
Alice Teets
Jul 04, 2017 Alice Teets rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story of two sisters, because that is what it is really about - sisters and what they will do for each other. The tales of Agnes' miracles are just a side story for me. I liked hearing of the going ons of small town Bright Pond, and I was surprised by some of the revelations made. I couldn't decide if I liked the way it ended or not, which is why it received a 4 star rating, but I did enjoy it and would recommend it.
Sep 29, 2009 Janna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite possibly one of the odder books I have reviewed this year. Right off the bat, in the
first chapter I am caught off guard. The central character in the book is Agnes Sparrow (as the title indicates) and we meet her immediately through the eyes of her sister, Griselda, the narrator. We see how she is the primary caregiver for Agnes who is 700 lbs and can't get around on her own. In the opening pages Agnes declares to Griselda that she will no longer leave their house, its just too har
Agnes Sparrow is a morbidly obese woman (700 pounds) with a secret. A secret she keeps for years. A secret which causes her deep guilt and a desire to 'redeem' she prays. She prays everyday for everyone who asks and/or anyone living or passing through her town of Bright's Pond. The community of Bright's Pond loves Agnes for the miracles they have received through her prayers and are constantly working toward honoring her through billboards and statues. Griselda, the narrator and sis ...more
Christy Lockstein

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow by Joyce Magnin is a masterful novel about the power of unconfessed sin. Griselda has devoted her life to taking care of her obese sister, Agnes. Agnes has devoted her life to taking care of the town of Bright's Pond. Her prayers have become so famous for bringing miracles in the small town that its residents are preparing to erect a sign outside city limits advertising it as the "Home of Agnes Sparrow." But Agnes has never wanted publicity, and no matter how hard sh
Julia Bell
Jul 13, 2012 Julia Bell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is one of the most unique books I have read in a very long time. It's the story of sisters Griselda and Agnes Sparrow. Older sister Agnes weighs 700 pounds and is the miracle worker of the town of Bright's Pond, whose every prayer for the town's residents is answered. Griselda is Agnes's caregiver. Their unique relationship and the zany residents of this small town in the Pennsylvania mountains make for a read that is humorous as well as touching. The writing was spr ...more
Barbara Brink
Jan 20, 2012 Barbara Brink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow was filled with an odd assortment of characters. It read like the town of Mayberry on LSD – but I liked it! The idea that a whole town would go to a 700 lb housebound woman to ask her to pray for them as though she had a direct link to God was funny and sad at the same time. When things go well, Agnes is a hero, but when things don't go so well, she is suddenly cast as the villain. Much as we treat God when things don't go the way we think they should. There are a fe ...more
Anna Todd
Jan 20, 2011 Anna Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this to be quirky but interesting. It reminded me of a mix between “The Andy Griffith Show” and the movie, “What’s eating Gilbert Grape.”
I appreciated the fact that the author comes across so honest in the characters with both their flaws and attributes. The ending surprised me!
Linda Conklin
This is an odd little book with strange characters. I gave it 3 stars but I think I liked it 3 1/2 stars. I didn't expect much from this book but it surprised me.
Barbara Cook
I wanted to like this book, to find some redeeming characters, but I found very few. Small town gossip, family dysfunction, enabling a 700 pound woman to stay that way..... she prayed but the town contributed the miracles to her, not God. And when things went very bad, she was blamed and bullied. Could have been a much better book
Oct 12, 2016 Cmking14 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Keeps You Wanting More

This is a very good book that I have already recommended to three of my friends. It takes place in Bright's Pond. The author developers the characters in a way that draws you into their world. The book makes you laugh and cry and even throws a few curve balls along the way. The emotion felt through the book does not let go until the end.
Mar 15, 2017 Alisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a little hard to get into, but once a mystery happened, it got much more interesting.
It got me thinking about a few things. Hmm...not sure about reading more in the series at this point though.
Sarah Simcox
Feb 18, 2017 Sarah Simcox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 15, 2012 Cassie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: christian readers, faith seekers
Recommended to Cassie by: Self
Joyce Magnin's Bright's Pond series, which "The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow" is the first book of this particular series, interweaves faith, death, and love all within the pages of its cover. This particular book is told from the viewpoint of Griselda Sparrow, Agnes's sister. The majority of the story deals with the fact that Agnes is seen as a miracle worker whose prayers often go answered by God. This story takes you on a journey through what it means to have actual faith.

My main gripe with this
Angela Reese
Aug 19, 2013 Angela Reese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The setting of this story is a very small town where everyone knows everyone and no one ever leaves the town, except on the rare occasion to go to the next town for something not available in Bright's Pond. The narrator of the story is Griselda Sparrow, sister of Agnes Sparrow. Agnes Sparrow is seen as the conduit of miracles. She is grossly obese and never leaves her converted bedroom so people have to come to her for their miracles. All one has to do is to visit with her, have her put her hand ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Agnes Sparrow and her caregiver sister, Griselda. Agnes has grown to 700+ lbs and announces to her sister one day that she has decided to never leave the house again because it has become too difficult and embarassing. Griselda has taken care of her sister since they were children. As children she often would stand up to other children who would bully Agnes because of her weight.

Because Agnes is confined to home she develops a prayer ministry for the people in town. Townspeo
Oct 02, 2012 Rayni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in care giving, obesity, bullying.
Recommended to Rayni by: Series
Causes: Bullying, care giving, obesity ...

I had a hard time getting into this book, but once I did, I was sad when I finished it. I have read books 2 & 4 of the series, so it was interesting to meet some of the people that are talked about in later books in this book. I loved going to The Pink Lady Cafe in Shoops, a restaurant that Charlotte Figg also goes to in "Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise." (book 2)

My word to live by for 2012 was caregiver. This book definitely fit my criteria. I ha
Nov 01, 2013 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-the-fence
This took me way too long to read, which is usually an indication that I was not really into the book. However, there was something about it that made me not just toss it aside. What that was, I am not sure, considering that I didn't like any of the characters, thinking most to be foolish and pathetic and most parts of the storyline seemed too far-fetched and unbelievable within the novel's context. I especially didn't like Agnes (pathetic) or Griselda (foolish and pathetic) who were the two mai ...more
Sep 02, 2012 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It had been ages since anything that exciting had happened in Bright's Pond ... so reads a passage in "The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow," and it pretty much sums up a lot of this book for me. Bright's Pond is a little burg in Pennsylvania. It reminds my of Mayberry, or maybe the town in the "Mitford" books (which I admittedly haven't read; it's just my stereotype). Folks say things like "lookee there!", and there are lots of descriptions of food. The town has a full cast of unusual/normal/endearing ...more
May 09, 2009 Elaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
If you're wanting to learn something, this isn't the book for you. It's purely for entertainment. Looking for well-developed characters? Agnes is very well-developed. Some character names: Studebaker. Vidalia. "Shrapnel" is Eugene's last name. Filby Pruett. Hezekiah. Dabs Lemon. There's also Tohilda and Personal Best.

I'm reminded of Phil Gulley's Harmony books with Fern Hampton, Dale Hinshaw where the characters are real and not some Barbie doll fake. (This one has big hair. This one has yellow
Griselda and Agnes are sisters. Agnes is extremely overweight (estimated around 700 lbs). She got teased a lot as a kid and Griselda became her protector when their parents died.

Agnes no longer leaves the house. She stays home and prays for her neighbors and they are convinced that when something good happens that it is a miracle caused by Agnes' prayers.

The town wants to put up a sign saying "home of Agnes Sparrows". Most neighbors like the idea, Agnes and Griselda are against it but no one see
Judy King
Dec 29, 2011 Judy King rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While no great feat of Literature, and not likely to make it into required reading, this author did a great job of creating characters I knew -- really knew, a town I felt as if I'd visited and people I cared about.

Poor Agnes, at 700 pounds has created a fortress of self around her wounded heart -- and in housebound, though young, spending her days praying for townsfolk who come to her with their hopes, dreams, illnesses and troubles. When folks notice a pattern of improvement among those for w
Valerie Comer
Aug 11, 2011 Valerie Comer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Agnes Sparrow is too large (at over 600 pounds) to get around the town of Bright’s Pond any more, but she can still do one thing and do it well: pray. And when Agnes prays, miracles happen. The town is so in awe of Agnes that they decide to get a new sign for the highway: Welcome to Bright’s Pond, Home of Agnes Sparrow. But why stop at a sign when they could build a statue?

It’s up to the story’s narrator, Agnes’s sister Griselda, to try to stop the people from spreading Agnes’s name even further
Lynette Smith
Aug 28, 2012 Lynette Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: joyce-magnin
Wonderful book couldn't put it down, about a small town and all the people go to Agnes who is a 700 lb woman and can't leave her house to ask her to pray for them They started to give Agnes all the glory and she kept saying the answered prayers were from the Lord. Prayers are being answered and the little town is getting blessed and in turn keep thinking it is because of Agnes, they want to post a sign stating the town of Agnes Sparrow and put a statue up representing her, till everthing turns a ...more
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The first 2/3 of the book about put me to sleep but I just kept reading.

If you like the Mitford series by Jan Karon or the Miss Read series, the first part of this book will appeal to you from a very slow paced, nothing happening but a pleasant little town leads its pleasant little life. Throw in a bit of Flannery O'Connor in the last third of the book, it shakes you up a bit and there you have Prayers of Agnes Sparrow.

The characters are more complex than I originally thought and for that Joyce
Jun 22, 2011 Danielle rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Agnes Sparrow weighs somewhere around 700 pounds. She was bullied mercilessly as s child and now those same people who ridiculed her want to erect a sign in her honor because Agnes has a gift. She prays and the Lord listens. Never mind that neither Agnes nor her care-giver/sister, Griselda, want that sign (or the statue to accompany it), the towns people are insistent. Then a stranger, hearing of Agnes' miracles, comes to town. And suddenly, Agnes may be losing her gift.

I enjoyed this book on tw
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Um, I like cross stitch, baseball, my children and grandkids, but not elevators or laundry. I've been known to run from mayonnaise and I play RPG video games. I don't have a favorite author although I read a lot.
More about Joyce Magnin...

Other Books in the Series

Bright's Pond (4 books)
  • Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise (Bright's Pond #2)
  • Griselda Takes Flight (Bright's Pond #3)
  • Blame It On The Mistletoe (Bright's Pond #4)

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