Good Food Book Club: The Wonder: Food, Miracles, Mayhem… and Story, Story, Story

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"Food is the dominant chord that runs through The Wonder… (it) is… an old-school page turner. Stephen King

Welcome to December’s book, a novel! Thus far the Good Food Book Club rarely strays into fiction (though the wonderful Fried Green Tomatoes comes to mind). But as we find ourselves squarely embedded in long dark nights, hearty meals sprinkled with wintry spirit, and the occasionally baffling intricacies of village life, The Wonder, Emma Donoghue’s latest novel, delivers an absorbing feast of a book.

Many are familiar with Donoghue’s well-known book, The Room, which was made into a popular, if disturbing movie. The Wonder is different. It also spotlights two women: Anna, a young girl and Lib the nurse hired to attend her. But Anna, you see, is not eating. It’s the 1860s, only a few years after the Irish potato famine, and this young girl has garnered fame as someone who appears to be living on air and water. She allegedly hasn’t eaten in four months.

Sparked by actual historical cases of “Fasting Girls”—dozens of instances of young women over the course of four centuries who supposedly stopped eating and lived without food—the author’s note explains further. Suffice to say, the inspiration from fact drives what Stephen King says is, “…story, story, story, and God bless her for it.” (See NYTs Book Review, Sept 27, 2016)

Anna and Lib meet each other in a small village in Ireland, where at one point, Lib—from England—finds herself wondering, “Do the Irish hate food?” Lib is meant to care for and oversee Anna’s health and life, in the midst of a historically accurate—and all too timely—tale of the difficult impacts of social religious dogma, and how these can inflict great harm on individuals, families, communities, and whole countries.

"Deliciously gothic.... Dark and vivid, with complicated characters, this is a novel that lodges itself deep" (USA Today)

 "Heartbreaking and transcendent" (New York Times)

 "A fable as lean and discomfiting as Anna's dwindling body.... Donoghue keeps us riveted" (Chicago Tribune)

 "Donoghue poses powerful questions about faith and belief" (Newsday)

Please join us to discuss The Wonder by Emma Donoghue. (Little, Brown and Company 2016) on Sunday, January 7 (due to the holidays) from 4:30 – 6 pm at a member’s private residence. Location and details will come in this month’s email reminder. Remember to email to receive reminders about the Good Food Book Club. The Wonder is available through your local library. If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used book stores or visit BookPeople of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the MFC website at


Please note: We will discuss books to read in 2018, at this month’s gathering.