By Emma Donaghue
It is said that 11 year-old Anna O’Donnell has not eaten a morsel of food in four months. Lib Wright, a nurse trained by Florence Nightengale, is called in to watch Anna for two weeks in order to determine whether Anna is a miracle or a hoax. It is Ireland in the mid 1800’s and the famine is finally over, but superstition and religion are rampant. Lib is a skeptic and her watch will be difficult.
What did it make me think about?
Oh my- religion, faith, miracles, starvation, anorexia, saints, motherhood, desperation…. Need I go on?
Should I read it?
Emma Donaghue wrote “Room” and always seems to find a way to tell a story that is easy to read and yet has substance to it. I must say that for at least the first 100 pages I could not stand the narrator, Lib. She was just too cold and rigid. Luckily, I slowly warmed to her as she warmed to Anna, or I would have hated this book. I found myself drawn in by the end of the story. This would make a good book club selection as their is just so much to discuss once you are done. Someone read this and call me!!!
“For a moment Lib glimpsed how it must have been. That day in the spring when the O’Donnells’ good little girl had turned eleven- and then, with no explanation, had refused to ear another bite. For her parents, perhaps it had been a horror as overwhelming as the illness that had carried off their boy the autumn before. The only way that Rosaleen O’Donnell could have made sense of these cataclysms was to convince herself that they were part of God’s plan.”