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The Wonder
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The Wonder > Question #1: First impressions

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What were your first impressions of The Wonder? If you have read any of Donoghue’s other novels, how did it compare?


Ashley | 116 comments Mod
I had read Room many years ago, and was very moved by the novel. It wasn't like anything I had read before, and found it extremely affecting So, approaching The Wonder I had trepidation; I wasn't sure what I was getting into - if the author would be using another unique storytelling device, or approaching another difficult subject.

I read the description of The Wonder, and was a little put off. Historical fiction doesn't usually appeal to me, and this specific environment seemed dreary and miserable. However, after reading just a few chapters I was hooked. I found the plot so compelling. I found Lib to be a very sympathetic character ( I could see myself in her) and wanted to uncover the truth. Donoghue created a simple but deep mystery that I found engaging and kept me reading.


Emily Burns (emilymelissabee) | 124 comments Mod
I read Room recently, after seeing the film at TIFF, and I had a hard time imagining this same author tackling an adult voice in historical fiction. Boy, was I mistaken! Donoghue's writing is not only convincing - it is compelling. While I started off disliking Lib for the snide way I felt she looked upon her surroundings when she arrived in Ireland, I grew quickly to understand and like her. I was hooked quickly and easily, and once that happened this was an incredibly speedy and satisfying read.


message 4: by Allison (last edited Feb 06, 2017 09:39AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Allison | 396 comments I must say, I was not a huge fan of Room, but I liked it well enough for what it was. However, I enjoyed reading The Wonder much more. Why? Perhaps the story was just more interesting to me. I thought it had good flow from beginning to end and I found the character of Anna well-shaped and real ...I thought the others in the novel to be a little 2-dimensional and stereotypical, including Lib (who annoyed me terribly for the whole first half of the novel).

I absolutely LOVED the way that the author set up her chapters -- using word headings and their various definitions to capture all of the subtle nuances of each meaning belonging to that word...and so capture the duplicitous essence of each chapter. That was incredibly clever!

The cover of the book is also very beautiful!


Dana (dkmckelvey) | 51 comments The only book I've read by her was Room, and I agree with Allison, I wasn't a huge fan but it is a story that has definitely stuck with me. I am only 25 pages into the Wonder, but it doesn't even feel like the same author! She is so talented though, just her description of everything. I really enjoy historical fiction so I am looking forward to reading it.


Allison | 396 comments Dana wrote: "The only book I've read by her was Room, and I agree with Allison, I wasn't a huge fan but it is a story that has definitely stuck with me. I am only 25 pages into the Wonder, but it doesn't even f..."

I agree, Dana ...it's like reading an entirely different author!


Susan (susanopl) | 472 comments Mod
Like others here, I also read Room, but none of Donoghue's other novels. She is well known for previous works of historical fiction. Depending on the time/setting, historical fiction is not my favorite genre, so I hadn't picked up any of the other novels.

I was fortunate to see Emma Donoghue at an Oakville Public Library event last fall. She is such an engaging speaker, and hearing her speak about The Wonder made me want to read the book. I loved the way she always called "Anna O'Donnell" by her full name, not just Anna. I'm not sure why but in her Irish brogue it sounded lovely. I was also intrigued to learn more about the Nightingale nurses through Lib's experiences. It was interesting to find that her teachings still hold today.

Having said all that, I found the first part of the book a bit slow, but I stuck with it and then couldn't put it down.


Emily Burns (emilymelissabee) | 124 comments Mod
Allison wrote: "I must say, I was not a huge fan of Room, but I liked it well enough for what it was. However, I enjoyed reading The Wonder much more. Why? Perhaps the story was just more interesting to me. I thou..."

I agree - the cover is a work of art!


Emily Burns (emilymelissabee) | 124 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Like others here, I also read Room, but none of Donoghue's other novels. She is well known for previous works of historical fiction. Depending on the time/setting, historical fiction..."

I found the same, Susan - it took me a little while, but then it carried me away.


Susan | 130 comments It took a while for my name to get to the top of the 'on hold' list, but I almost finished the book in time. I always like to answer the questions as they make me think more deeply about the book. I avoided looking at any of the questions / answers until I was finished ... so here goes.

I had not read "Room", partly because I found the subject matter uncomfortable and partly because it wasn't available as Oakville Reads was discussing it. My first impressions of this book was that it was rather morose and there was certainly a sense of unease from the beginning ... Lib's attitude itself set that up from the first pages.


Susan (susanopl) | 472 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "It took a while for my name to get to the top of the 'on hold' list, but I almost finished the book in time. I always like to answer the questions as they make me think more deeply about the book. ..."
Thanks for your persistence in reading along with us, Susan, even if the books are difficult to borrow. I know a lot of readers had concerns about reading Room because of the subject matter. It took me quite a while to convince myself to read it, and I found it not to be at all what I anticipated.


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