Book Review: Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Posted November 22, 2021 by WendyW in Book Review / 27 Comments

Wish You Were Here
Wish You Were Here
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

by Jodi Picoult
Publication Date November 30, 2021
Published by Ballantine Books
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Genres: Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Sagas, Fiction / Women
Pages: 336
Format: ARC

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and The Book of Two Ways comes "a powerfully evocative story of resilience and the triumph of the human spirit" (Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of Malibu Rising)

Diana O'Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She's an associate specialist at Sotheby's now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. She's not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos--days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.

But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It's all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.

Almost immediately, Diana's dream vacation goes awry. Her luggage is lost, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent, and the hotel they'd booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, the whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father's suspicion of outsiders.

In the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself--and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.

My Review:

NOTE: Wish You Were Here will certainly be on my top 10 books of 2021!

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult is an amazing book that I will not soon forget.  I read this over a month ago, and the story is still stuck in my head, with no signs it will leave soon.  This is a book about COVID, and some say it’s too soon, but I say, it’s just in time, and we need more books like this that illustrate the dire circumstances we are in with the pandemic. 

Diane O’Toole has almost everything she wants. She has the job she’s always wanted and a loving boyfriend named Finn who she’s sure is about to propose marriage on their upcoming vacation to the Galapagos Islands.  Her job as an art consultant at Sotheby’s is her dream job since her college days and she’s expecting a big promotion very soon.  Her boyfriend Finn is a surgical resident in an NYC hospital.  

Just before they are set to depart for the Galapagos Islands, the virus, known as COVID-19 starts to hit New York City.  The day prior to when they are set to leave for the airport, Finn tells Diane that he can’t go on vacation because his superiors at the hospital have told everyone to stay in the city because they expect the virus to get much worse.  After some discussion, Diane leaves for the vacation on her own.  

This is one of those books where spoilers will really spoil the story, so I won’t say much more about the story, except it was gripping, intense, educational, and very emotional.  As COVID is the main subject of the book, I would think some people who have really suffered during this pandemic and lost close friends and family, might find this book is out a bit too soon.  I do think that it validates many of the feelings I’ve had during the pandemic, and the book definitely describes many of the horrors we’ve suffered, but it’s also an optimistic book.  I was afraid that when I read it would be depressing.  I will admit that the author describes many of the horrors of the pandemic, but also weaves a terrific emotional story around all the losses and difficulties of the pandemic.  

Wish You Were Here will bring out all your emotions as you read it.  Only a very talented author can write about such a devastating subject and turn it into such an uplifting story.  And Jodi Picoult has proved what a talented author she is with this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

27 responses to “Book Review: Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

  1. Lovely review Wendy. I agree that the book is too soon for those who’ve suffered or lost someone during the pandemic but I’m glad to see it’s uplifting despite the grave themes. The pandemic has certainly given us all a jolt and like Diana in the book a reminder to reconsider the way we’ve been living our lives.

    • Thank you Mallika. Only a very talented author can pull off making a book about such a depressing subject and turn it into something uplifting.

  2. Wonderful review Wendy. I will definitely be reading this one, as I read all of her books, but will get it from the library eventually. It does sound like an empowering story as we are still going through it and need to learn to live again.

  3. This does sound like a good read. I didn’t know Jodi Picoult had written a book about Covid-19, although I’m not surprised. She’s so good at picking topical stuff for her stories

  4. This does sound good, mostly because I love the Galapagos Islands and would love to go back there someday…even if I only get to visit them again by book. 🙂

  5. This sounds really good. I am not ready to read stories about Covid yet, but I will be able to someday, LOL. I used to love her writing, I need to catch up on her stuff.

  6. I tend to avoid tv shows, movies or anything like that that involve Covid because I just don’t like dealing with it when it’s already so much present in real life, you know? But a Jodi Picoult book that deals with it? SIGN ME ON!