I found the book interesting, but was not nearly as impressed as many reviewers. The religious phenomenon of individuals who claimed to be surviving on nothing more than a little water was evidently a big media draw during the Victorian era (Fasting Girls). Donoghue's story involves a young Irish girl and the attempt to discover whether or not Anna was actually existing without food.
Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O'Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale's Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.
Written with all the propulsive tension that made Room a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels--a tale of two strangers who transform each other's lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil.
Soooo....yes, it was interesting to see the rather smug and supercilious Lib Wright attempting to discover how Anna was being fed. And it was frustrating to see the religious mania of those individuals who were certain that it was a miracle and hopeful of Anna being made a saint--allowing, actually celebrating, a young girl in the process of killing herself through starvation. But I did not see it as a thriller, although it was definitely an example of a psychological aberration, and the romance and the "neatly" wrapped up conclusion felt awkward.
Read in Aug.; blog review scheduled for 9/19/16
Historical Fiction. Sept. 20, 2016. Print length: 304 pages.