The Wonder by Emma Donoghue ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I wasn’t a big fan of Room. I know, I know. Everyone thought it was great. I just didn’t. The movie either. I liked but didn’t love either.
And so when Emma Donoghue’s next book landed in the “next best thing” list I was kinda “ho-hum”. And I was wrong.
The Wonder is outstanding. I devoured it, in fact I read it entirely in one day.
The story is set in Ireland in the late 1800’s, after the potato famine. Having recently traveled to Ireland it was easy to conjure up the barren, wet, boggy and windswept landscape described so beautifully by Donoghue.
Focused on a pious eleven year old girl, the story brings together a wide range of characters dealing with perils of the period in a deeply Catholic community overflowing with superstition. Donoghue’s chapters are long but I loved her use of powerful singular words and their definition as the name of each chapter; nurse, watch, fast, vigil, shift. A unique and thoughtful way to present each chapter and create interest and anticipation for the reader.
“Agnes of God” came to mind as I read this book. A fragile story of penance, sorrow, hope and love.
The Wonder truly was.