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The Whipping Club Hardcover – February 10, 2012
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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From Kirkus Reviews
“Set in 1960′s Ireland, Henry’s riveting debut novel explores the far-reaching effects of a single decision.”
“Deborah Henry’s eloquent, magnificently designed novel . . . A story that will draw out every straw of emotion in your soul. This is the best novel I have read in three years.”
--Herald de Paris
“The Whipping Club is an intimate, assured first novel, the story of Marian McKeever and her child hidden by cruelty and custom. It rings with the authenticity of shame and courage. You can put it down but you will not forget it.”
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, best-selling author of The Deep End of the Ocean
“Deborah Henry is a natural storyteller and she is far more. Her novel The Whipping Club is a compelling read, but it also seriously explores the terrible ways the world –as a society, as individuals — often fails its children. And most importantly, her book offers a searingly lovely vision of how wrongs can be made right. Deborah Henry is a splendid young novelist who deserves a wide audience.”
—Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler
“The Whipping Club at once evokes a hauntingly beautiful literary landscape, engaging me immediately. Henry writes with great passion, deep vulnerability and sharpest prose about perils and plights, joy and triumph. Commanding a winsome literary voice, Henry would go far to tell many a tale. And she should.”
—Da Chen, best-selling author of Colors of the Mountain and Sounds of the River
"Exquisitely written, unflinching and spare, The Whipping Club is the haunting portrait of a family that challenges a system whose chilling atrocities toward children are at once beyond comprehension and altogether real. Deborah Henry is a gifted storyteller. The steely realism of her prose, her fiercely drawn characters and startling plot twists make The Whipping Club one of those rare novels that linger in the mind long after the last page is turned."
—Dawn Tripp, best-selling author of Game of Secrets
“Harrowing, haunting, and brilliantly written, Henry’s stunner of a novel is about secrets, so-called sins, and the way even the deepest scars can begin to heal. So breathtakingly good it seems burned into your heart.”
—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
“A story of survival, redemption, and the courage that is born of love. One of my favorite reads of the decade!”
—Susan Henderson, author of Up From The Blue --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Marian, a teacher at a Jewish school, is Irish Catholic and her boyfriend Ben is Jewish. Shortly before meeting Ben's parents, Mariam finds out that she is pregnant. After a totally disastrous meeting, Marian decides to go to a Mother Baby Home to have her child, who, she is told, is subsequently given up and adopted by an American family.
Years later, after Ben and Marian have married and become parents to a daughter named Johanna, a nurse from the home visits Marian to tell her that the son she had given up, Adrian, is NOT in America, but is at an orphanage where he is being mistreated.
This novel follows Mariam as she tries to regain custody of Adrian. It speaks of horrific abuse at the hands of the system, a mother's heartache in having failed her son, and the bias and prejudice that contributes to what is already an unbearable situation.
My feelings: The novel feels a bit rushed and jumpy at the start, and reads more intellectually than emotionally - the writing is rather detached, and, as a reader, I was not able to connect with any of the characters. I felt as though I were a dispassionate observer almost through the very end of the novel. If this were a non-fiction title, that would be acceptable; however, as fiction, most readers expect some feeling to come from the pages, especially around the issues that this novel centers around.
Marian imagines prejudice where none exists, and seems very close-minded and selfish. Her husband Ben rightly believes that there is something a bit "off" about Adrian (and that is understandable, given how he has been raised up to this point).Read more ›
What starts out as a love story between a Catholic woman, Marian McKeever and a Jewish man, Ben Ellis in Ireland in the 60's, familiar in its plot, or so I thought, turns into a totally different animal as the book progresses. It is not at all what it seems on the surface it is so much more.
Marian and Ben have somewhat of a happy ending as regards to the fact that they do get married and have a daughter, but It is really the story of Marian and Ben's biological child, Adrian, who grows up in an orphanage run by the catholic church, where the plot gets interesting. You see Marian was pregnant with Ben's son Adrian before they were wedded and her uncle, Father Brennan, convinces Marian that it is best that she give the child up for adoption and not tell Ben, believing that Marian and Ben will never be married. Marian believes that her son has been adopted by an American family and has had a good life.
What turns this tale on its head is when Marian finds out that her son Adrian has been in Dublin all his life, being mistreated and suffering in a local orphanage. My heart broke while reading this book and actually brought tears to my eyes, which rarely happens to me while reading. I don't want to give away anymore of the plot, but suffice it to say that it is an amazing story with depth and complexity and I highly encourage people to read it.
I thought the premise of the book was interesting. However, the writing style was only so-so and the characters seemed a bit flat. Additionally, the book continually shifted from one point-of-view to another. I found this a bit annoying and even confusing at times. As such, I didn't enjoy the book as much as I hoped I would.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I won a copy of this book a LONG time ago, but put off reading it because it looked like it was going to be so heavy. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sadie Forsythe
Well written. I kept asking myself why? This was one of the most depressing books I've ever read.Published 11 months ago by Janet M. Bank
I was riveted to this book . Found it hard to put down once Adrian was found. I had read about the Magdalene Laundries and how they sold the babies of the young girls they shamed... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kindle Customer
I gave this story four stars and not five because of how depressing it was; however, it was an interesting story. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Navymom - Latham
Three cheers and five stars for Deborah Henry's The Whipping Club. You don't have to take my word for it: take Oprah's.Published 23 months ago by Mark L. Berry
Interesting story line but dialogue was difficult to follow.Published 23 months ago by Jean Wroblewski
As others have mentioned, this was an Oprah pick, which I also did not know. If I had, I would have not bought it. Read morePublished on April 27, 2014 by Tony
This book tells the story of an Irish Catholic woman who falls in love with a Jewish man, conceives a child, and gives birth to him at a mother-baby home. Read morePublished on February 8, 2014 by Ruth B Lazarus
My Review: 4 stars
Wow. This book is one of a kind. Don’t pick up if you can’t handle the darkness that comes along with it. Darkness in humanity vs. the fight for good. Read more