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Book of the Week: State of Wonder – A Jungle Adventure of Self-Discovery

By Margaret Manning September 15, 2018 Lifestyle

State of Wonder written by Ann Patchett was recommended by so many women in our Sixty and Me community, that I had to give it a shot.

For a start, Ann Patchett is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author. She is probably best known for her book Bel Canto and has a loyal following of readers around the world!

State of Wonder has a deeper meaning that is both evocative and mysterious. When I researched online, I found that this book lives in a world of superlatives created by both the publisher and many readers! The Amazon summary was incredibly powerful.

It said, State of Wonder is “an enthrallingly innovative tale of aspiration, exploration, and attachment – a gripping adventure story and a profound look at the difficult choices we make in the name of discovery and love.”

Not surprisingly, the New York Times described Patchett’s work as one with “crystalline and exquisite” prose.

A review on Goodreads stated: “It’s deliciously gloomy and atmospheric, a dark adventure with Hitchcock style suspense.” So, with those amazing reviews, what is the book about and why is it so compelling?

A Woman on an Odyssey in the Amazon

The main character is Dr. Marina Singh. She works for a pharmaceutical company that sends her to a remote area of the Amazon jungle to investigate the death of one of her colleagues who died mysteriously while working on the discovery of a new fertility drug.

The background of the story introduces an isolated tribe in the Amazon jungle where women have children into their 60s and 70s. This ability to stay fertile late in life is introduced as linked to the tribe’s rituals and the environment they live in.

So, in this search for the fertility drug that will be worth a fortune, Marina encounters all the adventures you would expect in the dark Amazon jungle.

A Mission to Find Answers

Marina’s own personal discoveries stack to the mysteries she hopes to uncover. There is a love interest, natural disasters strike and increasingly, her tasks prove complex and difficult to achieve.

In addition to cannibals, poison arrows, snakes and insects, there are emotions from her past that are searching for resolution. The story is about discovery, dealing with loss and a deep philosophical question about the role of older women in society.

I am intrigued about this story and I’d love to know if you read it and what you thought about this futuristic and yet incredibly human story. Did it leave you in a state of wonder?

Would you want to be able to have children into your 60s? Do you like books about medical discoveries and distant tribes? What does the name Ann Patchett mean to you? Have you read State of Wonder? I would be happy to read your opinions in the comments below.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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