Book Review: The Wonder

My new book club (which is awesome and working very well: who knew mixing friends would turn out so fantastically!) decided they weren't into the open genre thing. Disappointing, but I figure that's motivation for me to read the chosen book plus one of my own in a month. This month there was a long process of recommendations and voting but we eventually decided to go with a new book by the author of Room, a book that I read years ago before I blogged book reviews, a book I only half liked...

The Wonder
By Emma Donoghue
304 pages

Anna hasn't eaten in four months, insisting she's been existing on manna from heaven. Lib, a Nightingale trained nurse, is hired to watch over the young child to ensure it's not an elaborate hoax. Set in Ireland in the late 1800s, we follow Lib, Anna, her family, and various characters from the small Irish town as Lib tries to debunk the proposed sainthood.

This book was...stiff? Stern? Flat? Perhaps it's the historical period as it reads like a Bronte or Austen classic. There's a crap ton of strict Catholic religiosity, a dull yet convenient historical romance element, a Room-esque twist, basically one setting (a room in a ramshackle Irish hut) and lots of watching a girl not eat. It got repetitive. The ending was meh but at least exciting. If only it had come 200 pages earlier. And wasn't so darn...convenient.

If you like historical stuff, then I'd recommend you put yourself on the massive waitlist for this book at your local library. I'm really glad I didn't buy a copy, as in the end it wasn't a complete waste of my time, but not a thought provoking page turner either...just...meh. Like Anna, it needed some meat.

Also I'm not reading any more books about traumatised children who are ruined by the abusive acts of those older than themselves.