Wish You Were Here – Jodi Picoult

Published By: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 352
Released On: 25/11/2021

Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the a New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. 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 Galapagos – 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. 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.

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.

*****

**Contains minor spoilers**

My love for Jodi’s work is not a secret. This is my 21st book of hers (still not a full house) and I cannot get enough of her work. She gets better and better with each book and I truly believe this is her best one yet, regardless of how spectacular her previous ones are.

I have said it before and I will say it again, I prefer shorter chapters to long ones, and this does have some rather long chapters, which is probably my only negative about it, but that is a minor thing and doesn’t take away anything from the reading of it.

We’ve lived in the pandemic for almost two years now, so why do we want to read about it? I don’t know the answer to that, but it’s clear that we do. We want to read about it to get our heads around it. Jodi gives a comely different perspective on something that has become routine that it becomes something new and fresh and, dare I say it, entertaining.

What I found sobering was that, for the most of us, unless you work in the medical field, know someone who does, or have had the virus yourself, we can’t fully grasp the horrors of those first few months, and Jodi writes it so clearly that it becomes humbling to think we lived through this and it’s not just a fictional plot point.

The main character of Diana is so well written that she feels like a friend; so much so that I’m expecting to receive a postcard or a phone call from her to catch up. She is so well rounded, and the other characters all bounce off her.

The twist in the second section was so unexpected I had to close the book and just sit there for a while. Everything was so real and then it wasn’t. Jodi just flipped everything we knew onto its head.

The amount of research Jodi had to do to produce the amount of detail in the book is so impressive that everything seems so believable and so real, it really touched my heart.

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