Thursday, May 12, 2022

Wish You Were Here-Book Review

 


Jodi Picoult's books are known for being thought provoking about current and past events and this book does not disappoint.  I was hooked from the very beginning when the novel starts in a March 2020 time frame.


                                       

The Story

In this book Jodi Picoult says she is exploring "the resilience of the human spirit in a moment of crisis".

In the first pages we are introduced to Diana O'Toole and her boyfriend Dr. Finn Colson.  They are a young couple very much in love and planning on taking the trip of their dreams to the Galapagos Islands.  They are all packed and set to take their trip when Finn comes home and announces that he cannot get away to take the trip.  He is a surgical resident in New York City, and it is the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Finn convinces Diana that she should take the trip without him since they have already paid their nonrefundable down payments.  Dianna reluctantly agrees to go.

When Diana reaches the Galapagos, she takes the ferry over to the island where they are staying only to discover that due to the pandemic it is the last ferry to the island and the island is now shut down due to the pandemic.  When she arrives, there is no transportation available, so she decides to walk to their hotel only to discover that it has been shut down.  Diana is beginning to panic when a worker from the hotel is leaving and stops to talk to Diana.  She offers a place for Diana to stay in a cottage she owns.  She is very kind to Diana and offers her food and advice.

The next chapters find Diana exploring the island, meeting people along the way, and dealing with communication problems.  She tries to contact Finn, but communication is very limited, and she finally is able to get someone to let her into the hotel to use their server.  

In the meantime, Finn, is working day and night at the hospital to deal with the spreading pandemic.  When he gets a moment to send Diana an email, he never knows if she is getting them.  In one email, he lets Diana know that her mother who is in a nursing home is gravely ill and the nursing home is quarantined by the pandemic.

There is so much more to the story, but I don't want to spoil it for you by telling you about all the twists and turns.  I will tell you it is a very compelling story made even more interesting by the fact that we are currently living in the pandemic.  I highly recommend this book.

More Books I Have Enjoyed by Jodi Picoult

I have read many of Jodi Picoult's books.  Here are some that I particularly enjoyed.

The Book of Two Ways explores Egyptology and I found very intriguing. Here is a review that Diana wrote on this book. Book of Two Ways

                                     
Leaving Time is a book that explores the relationships between humans and animals.  The elephants in this story were delightful and I would recommend this book.

                                   
My Sister's Keeper is the heart wrenching story of a young girl who was conceived in order to provide bone marrow for her dying sister.  It is considered by many as their favorite Picoult novel.

                                     
Enjoy your Reading!  Books are a wonderful escape from daily life.



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6 comments:

  1. Wish You Were Here sounds like a very timely and topical book, Mary Beth. Sounds really interesting. I've read Jodi Picoult books in the past and always found them enjoyable. I shall look forward to this one.

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  2. I know a lot of people who travel for work were caught completely off-guard as things started shutting down. We have friends who were traveling who couldn't get food because of restaurant closure and had to eat whatever room service could deliver or from vending machines. No one expected this pandemic to last so long. And airline travel - oh my, what a mess! I can definitely see how a lot of books could be written about the chaos. I simply had to look to see if this was a "thriller" or mystery novel. It sounds like the perfect set-up for one. While checking it out and finding out that it is neither thriller nor mystery, I noted that Netflix has bought the rights to make it a movie. It really must be very compelling to a wide range of readers.

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  3. I can easily empathize with Diana’s feelings of fear and panic upon arriving in the Galápagos Islands and discovering that, due to circumstances beyond her control, the entire island was closed and she had no place to stay and no way to leave. it reminds me of how I felt a few years ago when my husband and I arrived in Florida for a much-needed vacation week at the beach just as a hurricane was headed that way. We were monitoring its path and, for a while, it looked as though it would just miss us, but it changed course again and there was an evacuation order. Many of the hotel’s other guests had cut their stays short sooner and, with both the hotels’ and airport’s impending closure, we couldn’t get a flight out or even a rental car.

    Like Diana, we were scared that we would be unable to leave and would be without a place to stay, and it was thanks to the kindness of a hotel employee who lived just outside the evacuation area and let us ride with him on his drive home that we were able to find (and get to) a safe place to sleep (and, in our case, seats on a flight home for the following day). But that’s where the similarities of our situations end.

    Unlike Diana, we had each other to rely on and share our ordeal. We were never in danger of being trapped alone on a remote island in different part of the globe, with a different language and culture, with almost no means to contact or hear from our friends, families and other loved ones during the early stages of a deadly global pandemic and with extremely limited access to other forms of communication, including U.S. or international news.

    Diana’s decision, however reluctant, to go ahead with the trip alone, at the onset of a global pandemic, while Finn stays behind on the medical front lines suggests at least a degree of independence and intrepidity that likely were strengthened during this difficult journey that, no doubt, had a profound effect on her.

    Given Jodi Picoult’s avid following and Netflix’s acquisition of the movie adaptation rights, I suspect that both the arc of the story and the telling of it are quite compelling. Thank you very much for your review and recommendation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love Jodi Picoult's books. Her stories are so relatable and you can understand the characters and their reactions in any given difficulty. I find that it makes me think about how I would react in certain circumstances. In a way, it's a great way to get to know yourself a little more intimately without having to go through difficult circumstances in real life. She is a great author for sure. Thanks for putting this one on my radar Mary Beth.

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  5. This review had me from beginning to end. I've avoided all pandemic/virus tv shows or movies, but quite honestly I feel like reading this one. I could picture the entire events Diana experiences as she gets to the island only to find it shut down. I'm sure this is a true story for many people, in one way or another.

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  6. Sounds like a really interesting book Mary Beth. It's amazing the problems this pandemic has caused. There must be thousands of stories people can tell and relate to from the beginning to now. Thanks for the recommendation.

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