The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

The WonderGenre: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mystery

Check it out on Goodreads

An eleven-year-old girl stops eating, but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse, sent to investigate whether she is a fraud, meets a journalist hungry for a story.

Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, The Wonder – inspired by numerous European and North American cases of ‘fasting girls’ between the sixteenth century and the twentieth – is a psychological thriller about a child’s murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes. Pitting all the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love, it is a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.

Non spoiler section:
Reading the blurb of this book I was so enthralled, it sounded amazing! A girl who hasn’t eaten for months…how is that possible?! Also after reading Emma Donoghue’s Room earlier this year (see my review here) I had very high expectations going into this book. I was not disappointed! Even though the book was a little repetitive and did at some points become boring it still kept me captivated enough to find out how it is possible for a little girl to survive without food for months. Was she a miracle child or was she being fed some other way. Going into the book I had the same scepticism as the nurse aka our main character Mrs Wright. I didn’t believe that a small child could survive for months without any source of nutrition and only tiny sips of water, there was no way she could survive! Without going into too much detail about the ending I would definitely recommend this book, although at times it is a little slow and does rely heavily on religion with many prayers and mentions of religious things so it may not be for everyone. I however did enjoy it even though normally I’m not a big lover of religious reading. I liked that there were riddles throughout the book and I particularly enjoyed trying to figure them out before I continued reading, some of them were hard! It is a mystery and I think once you know the ending it wouldn’t be worth rereading as there is nothing else to the story to keep you interested however it is definitely worth the initial read!
The next section may contain some spoilers so if you don’t want to ruin the story please don’t continue reading! 
Although I did enjoy the book at times it did feel very similar to room, as it is pretty much based in one room for the majority of the novel with very repetitive actions. The ending particularly made me see the connection (if you have read both this book and Room you will know what I mean) and personally although they were a very religious family it just seemed to rely a little too heavily on God to answer all their prayers.
At times throughout the book some things did seem a little ridiculous e.g. the doctor believing that Anna is becoming some new sort of reptile… like what?! How is it possible for someone to become a doctor (yes admittedly it was the 1950’s but still) and yet still believe that the child is only cold because they are mutating (?) into a reptile, it is just a little ridiculous. Also the fact that from the description we are given Anna’s health has clearly decreased and yet nobody else seems to notice it. These are just some issues I had with the book however I did enjoy the mystery and it did keep me engrossed till the end.
Overall I did enjoy the book although I don’t think I will read it again, I enjoyed seeing the bond form between the nurse and the child and liked guessing along with the nurse on ways that Anna could be being fed with each one getting disproved.
 Rating: 3/5

Summing up: Good mystery however not worth a reread


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