Themes of rural guilelessness vs. city sophistication and traditional faith vs. modern rationalism are effortlessly portrayed in this beautiful story of a skeptical nurse who is employed to determine whether a "fasting girl" is a miracle or a hoax. The truth of the situation is revealed and the nurse comes to love the girl. The reader is caught up in the suspense that builds at the end of the novel.
While three million poor, rural Irish perished by starvation, the GB didn't lift much of a finger to send aid. They actually exported Irish food for their own consumption. My great grandparents immigrated from Cork 1855 to Canada & then US. Just my opinion.
This is a reread and what I did not fully appreciate the first time when I read more for the plot of the "fasting girl" was the commentary of the snotty english nurse about rural ireland. The English really do think the Irish are subhuman. And then what's not to like about a story about the evils of the Catholic church and evils of keeping family secrets.
This story is an agonizing glimpse into the lives of poor rural Irish just after the potato famine of the early 19th century. There is some political underpinning as the British nurse learns how culpable England was in this famine. But the story is of a family beleaguered by druid superstition overlaid with an orthodox Catholicism that would not allow human fragility to upset their belief in miracles. A great story. Well researched and yes, the ending is a bit overstretched but I smiled when I closed the book.
Very disappointing ..... a short story stretched out to be a tedious novel with a ridiculous fairy tale ending !
A haunting story about a English nurse who was hired to watch a young Irish girl who was looked on as a holy person because she supposedly was able to live without eating. Not only is what the nurse, who had worked with Florence Nightingale, discovered about the child, it is an interesting look from the British point of view at the Irish potato famine. Along with the mystery of the child’s miraculous survival is the interplay of Protestant and Roman Catholic views. You’ll finish reading the book with a lot to think about including how a child’s interaction and expectations of those around her have influence the child.
This richly atmospheric, gothic tale is set in a small Irish village in the 1850s, and focuses on Anna, the girl believed to be thriving after months without food, and Lib, one of the nurses hired to uncover the truth. Donoghue writes an engrossing story, exploring religion and Irish superstition, with a creeping tension that propels the reader through, as we strive to find out what is actually going on with this little girl and why.
For three quarters of the book, nothing happens. I think it was supposed to be about building suspense but instead the book was just increasing boredom. I lost my patience and began skimming to discover the answer of why the girl was fasting and how she was staying alive. Nothing mind blowing was revealed.
I did not find the main character, Lib, very likable and we are supposed to believe her as being the heroine. Lib was just too judgy and self-righteous.
"Room" was so complex and fast paced. "The Wonder" left me wondering what happened to Donoghue's talent?
Shocking, thought-provoking and utterly fascinating.
A quick and easy read, with lots to ponder later. Donoghue wants us to consider how a community created these fasting women of history. But the English nurse used as her lens is too much an outsider and her angry condemnations of those around her become tedious. More interesting is the Irish journalist who interprets the religious Irish world for us better and provides the clues that the reader gets long before the nurse. They might not like it but the book club would have lots to talk about!
Tjad2L thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over
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