Book Review: The Wonders by Paddy O’Reilly

Title: The Wonders
Author: Paddy O’Reilly
Publication: February 10, 2015
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Fiction, Satire
Pages: 288

The Wonders


SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

What happens when three ordinary people undergo radical medical treatments that make them international curiosities? They become wonders.

Leon has a small visible mechanical heart; Kathryn has been cured of a rare genetic disorder but is now covered in curly black wool; while performance artist Christos has metal wings implanted into his back. Brought together by a canny entrepreneur, the Wonders are transformed into a glamorous, genre-defying, twenty-first-century freak show. But what makes them objects of fascination also places them in danger.

Challenging our ideas about celebrity, disability and the value of human life, The Wonders is a boldly inventive, acute and moving novel from one of Australia’s finest authors.


Can someone please call Tim Burton? I found his next project.

The Wonders by Paddy O’Reilly is dark, quirky, slightly humorous, and deeply provoking. Leon has a metal heart. Without it, he would die. Kathryn is cured of Huntington’s disease, only to sprout thick black wool all over her body. Christos, artist extraordinaire, takes his art to a whole new level by implanting large metal wings into his back. Discovered by Rhona, the trio become internationally known as The Wonders. They each create a persona and travel the world entertaining the masses. In short, cash is King and they’re going to the bank–not laughing, though. They soon tire of being a freakish display for others entertainment. More than anything, they long for their former obscurity.

The Wonders isn’t a light fun read. If anything, it’s dark and depressing at times. Still, you want to keep turning the pages because the characters are so compelling. Their stories are entrancing as much as they are devastating. The pain and anguish leaps off the pages and settles into your soul. You get a small sense of how celebrities feel–the deep price they pay just to earn a living. I encourage you to read this book and stick with it to the end. The ending is a rich reward for the sacrifice of enduring this story. I award it 4.5 out of 5.

You can get your own copy of The Wonders by Paddy O’Reilly on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is also available in paperback at your local bookstore. Also make sure you add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads.

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