Book Review: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

June 27, 2012
Article first published as Book Review: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett on Blogcritics.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett is a fictional book taking place, mostly, in Brazil’s Amazonregion. I have been in that region and ever since loved reading about it, reliving my adventures and banging my head against the wall wishing to go back again and look at things with more informed eyes.

The pub­lisher is giv­ing away one copy of this book—use the Raf­fle­copter form at the end of the post to enter.

  • 368 pages
  • Publisher:Bloomsbury UK
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1408818590

Book Review: State of Wonder by Anne Patchett

My rating for State of Wonder4

Buy this book in paper or electronic format

More Books by Anne Patchett

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (website) takes its time to build up, putting ordinary people, slowly but surely, in extraordinary situations where neither them nor the reader realizes it until the setup clamps behind you with no way back. The book has several themes running through it, but the two I found most fascinating is the effects mentors have on their underlings and being able to let go of formal education, when necessary, to look differently at the world around you.

I believe that access to a good mentor can make or break an individual’s career. This is especially true with doctors (I think) and especially in the United States where preventative medicine is almost unheard of and might even be discouraged (this is one of the only, if not the only, country in the world where the subject is not taught in medical school). Mentors stay with people for a long time, sometimes even for the rest of their lives, much like parents, we look up to mentors and put them on pedestals which, sometimes, they might not deserve.

While we are all immersed in our hectic daily lives, it is always important to remember that sometimes the minority might be right. I know of several instances where there is more than one right answer to any question, however it is important for everyone to stand outside of themselves and observe the world through different colored glasses.. A doctor who only auscultate to patients, has to use the same skills to look at the world around and try to understand science within context.

The novel is slow to develop, but Ms. Patchett does a fabulous job introducing the reader into the psyche of the main characters and the psychology which drives them, rather than resorting to physical or emotional motivations which are much easier to understand. Each character has his or hers own demons and angels, there is no “bad guy” per say since a lot of the novel is perception of one character on another.

There is a wonderful essence of the Amazon region which resonates throughout the second half of the book. The author does a marvelous job describing the flora and fauna as well as the numerous bugs. To this day I can spend hours telling many stories about the bugs I encountered on my trip, going to sleep in a hammock only to jump out a few moments later with bugs crawling on me, getting bit by fire ants and more.
It seems the stories get better, longer and more graphic each time I tell them.

The more I read, the more I liked this book. The novel has a maturity level which I cannot put my finger on, but it is a pleasure to be engrossed.

Related Reads:
The River of Doubtby Candice Millard
The Lost City of Z by David Grann

So tell me, do you like books with a slow build up?

Pharmacologist Marina Singh travels from Minnesota to the Brazilian Amazon to find a lost colleague. Marina is suppose to report on the progress of a new drug which her company is sponsoring the research, but cannot get any updates.

Dr. Annick Swenson, Marina’s former mentor, has been working on her research with the Lakashi tribe whose women have healthy babies well into their 70s. When Marina shows up, Dr. Swenson who is committed to keeping the secrets of the Lakashi secret, does not extend a warm welcome to her form pupil.

Buy this book in paper or electronic format

More Books by Anne Patchett


  • Give­away ends: July 4, 2012

  • US/Canada Ship­ping Addresses Only

  • No PO Boxes

  • Win­ners will have 24 hours to write back with their address, oth­er­wise an alter­nate win­ner will be picked

Congratulations: singitm@

TLC Book Tour for State of Wonder by Anne Patchett :

Zohar — Man of la Book
: I got this book for free fromTLCBook Tours

BOOK BLOGGERS – Have you read State of Wonder? If so link up your review below:

--- Please like and follow ---


  • Julie RupertJune 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm
  • techeditorJune 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm


  • Sheila K.June 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  • MargieJune 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  • CarlJune 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Please enter my name in the draw for the chance to win this great book.


  • BrooksJune 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    I’ve been interested in reading State of Wonder since it was announced as part of the Tournament of Books this year. I haven’t looked at any of the other book tour posts yet, but I remember the folks commenting at the ToB had pretty mixed feelings on it. Regardless, I think it looks great.

  • Melody ScottJune 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Hi- I’d love to win this book, I think she’s a wonderful novelist. Great review, I’m so intrigued! Please enter my name in the draw to win.

  • RyanJune 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. The ending though made me depressed for what I think comes after the book ends.

    Great review!

  • MarjorieJune 28, 2012 at 7:16 am

    A really great storyline, this book is on my wish list.

  • Laura KayJune 28, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Thanks for another great giveaway opportunity!!!

    Laura Kay

  • C.E. HartJune 28, 2012 at 10:00 am

    I don’t mind a slow moving book if it ends well. 🙂

  • Emma @ Words And PeaceJune 28, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Emma @ Words And Peace
    ehc16e at yahoo dot com

  • Emma @ Words And PeaceJune 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    sorry, i began entering the giveaway but end up not doing it. thanks for your review. I also enjoyed this book very much, as well as Bel Canto. have you ever read it? here is my combined review of these 2 books:

  • Heather J. @ TLC Book ToursJune 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    I started reading this myself recently … and then my Kindle broke. Ugh! I can’t wait to get the new one in so I can continue this book!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  • LisaJune 29, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I’m absolutely willing to give a story time to build as long as the reading it good – and Patchett’s writing is always great even if some of her stories aren’t as good as others.

    • Zohar - Man of la BookJuly 1, 2012 at 6:51 am

      I’ve never read any of Patchett’s other books, but I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for the comment.

  • PatriciaJune 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I hope I win!

    patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

  • London JudgeJune 30, 2012 at 10:12 pm
  • Meg @ A Bookish AffairJuly 2, 2012 at 8:22 am

    I suppose I don’t mind books that unfold slowly as long as there is some amount of intrigue that keeps me going as I can be pretty impatient when it comes to books.

  • Anita YanceyJuly 2, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks for having this giveaway.

    Email: ayancey(at)dishmail(dot)net

  • Shirley @ My BookshelfJanuary 28, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my review of The Expats. You really should pick up a copy for yourself. (I am entering your name in the draw). Getting back to your review of The State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, I really enjoyed this book. I don’t often enjoy a slow build-up in a novel but this book was an exception for me. It was, actually, one of my favourite reads last year! I too loved the descriptives of the flora and fauna, the people and their culture. Everything was so vivid that I could easily see myself there with them.

    Thanks for sharing your personal experiences here too. I quite enjoyed that! You may read my review here:

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