Summary and book reviews of The Miracle Girl by Andrew Roe

The Miracle Girl

by Andrew Roe

The Miracle Girl by Andrew Roe X
The Miracle Girl by Andrew Roe
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2015, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2016, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bradley Sides
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About this Book

Book Summary

A multi-faceted, multi-voiced debut novel that is a personal and heartfelt-chronicling of a family in flux, trying to find their individual and collective way-and also tells a larger, cultural story.

The crowds keep coming. More and more every day it seems ... drawn by rumor and whisper and desperate wish. Somehow they heard about the little girl on Shaker Street." They come to see eight-year-old Anabelle Vincent, who lies in a comalike state - unable to move or speak. They come because a visitor experienced what seemed like a miracle and believed it was because of Anabelle. Word spread. There were more visitors. More miracles. But is there a connection? And does it matter?

Set against the backdrop of the approaching millennium - with all its buzz about reckoning and doom--this impressive debut novel is narrated by Anabelle herself; by her devoted mother, who cares for her child while struggling to make sense of the media frenzy surrounding her; by Anabelle's estranged father, who is dealing with the guilt of his actions; and by the people who come seeking the child's help, her guidance, and her healing. Yet it tells a larger cultural story about the human yearning for the miraculous to be true, about how becoming a believer - in something, anything, even if you don't understand it - can sustain you.

"They still there?" Mavis Morris asks her husband, Marcus, who for the past hour has been periodically checking the window, pinching the mini blinds open and closed with a well-honed disapproval like the nosey neighbor that he is. He's been spying (across the street and over one house, to the left) in growing disbelief—the spectacle continues. He doesn't even bother answering his wife's question this time, you're married this long and all it takes is a look, a significant enough arching of the eyebrows. The dopes, standing in the sun and in front of the white-turned-gray house and on down the block who knows how far, trying to convince themselves that they'll find whatever it is they think they're looking for in the room of that comatose little girl who he remembers sitting by herself on the sidewalk and who should just be left alone, is Marcus' take, not that anyone besides his wife is asking. It's getting ridiculous. But what can you do once people start ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. The Miracle Girl is a story largely about faith and belief. How did your own faith and belief affect how you read the novel?
  2. Some readers have said they believed the miracles described in the book were real; some have said they didn't think they were real; and others have said it didn't matter to them either way. Did you feel like you had to make that decision as a reader? Which category did you fall into and why?
  3. The author has said in interviews and in the essay that follows the novel that he's not religious. Does this surprise you? Does it change the way you view the novel?
  4. The hunger for miracles to be real is timeless. But do you find that this hunger is even more pronounced in today's world?
  5. People from ...
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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The style Roe employs in here is delicately balanced. His language is plain without being pretentiously derisive. The balance of perspectives, from daughter to mother to father to visitor, is consistent. The narrative is confidently told, and it glides along smoothly, free of bumps or bruises. Moving from chapter-to-chapter, I felt like I was in good hands...continued

Full Review (562 words).

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(Reviewed by Bradley Sides).

Media Reviews

Booklist
Roe's exploration of the need for belief makes for a strong debut.

Kirkus Reviews
Starred Review. Lively, pitch-perfect and assured. Readers will be wanting to hear more from this writer.

Author Blurb Will Allison, author of Long Drive Home
[A] dazzling debut ... an uplifting miracle of a book.

Author Blurb The Shelter Cycle
A stunning, confident debut.

Author Blurb Doug Dorst, co-author of S
Roe inhabits characters who are desperate to believe and reveals to us their needs and wounds and hopes, and he does so with kindness, generosity, and wisdom.

Author Blurb Jason Mott, author of The Wonder of All Things
Andrew Roe's novel struggles to contain the breadth of the author's talent. There is a precision and purpose in each sentence. The characters are steeped in complexity. These are people we all know, struggling with both the familiar and the magnificent.

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Beyond the Book

Modern Day Miracles?

Andrew Roe's The Miracle Girl follows the life of Anabelle Vincent, a comatose girl who many believe grants miracles. Of course, there are skeptics who surround the young Anabelle, too, and so the novel asks readers to question whether they are believers or skeptics.

The Raising of LazarusThe occurrence of alleged miracles is, of course, not a new topic. It's one that has garnered interest for many years, even centuries. But if we examine the cited miracles that have occurred in the modern day compared to centuries before, the decrease is large. Why is this? It is not, necessarily, because people don't believe. According to Craig Keener (Professor at Asbury Theological Seminary), in a 2011 Huffington Post article: "Various polls peg U.S. belief in ...

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