Tuesday 7 December 2021

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult - Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a copy of this book to take part in a readalong with Tandem Collective UK. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult - 4/5
"Diana O'Toole's life is going perfectly to plan. At twenty-nine, she's up for promotion to her dream job as an art specialist at Sotheby's and she's about to fly to the Galápagos where she's convinced her surgeon boyfriend, Finn, is going to propose.

But then the virus hits New York City and Finn breaks the news: the hospital needs him, he has to stay. But you should still go, he insists. And reluctantly, she agrees. Once she's in the Galápagos, the world shuts down around her, leaving Diana stranded - albeit in paradise. Completely isolated, with only intermittent news from the outside world, Diana finds herself examining everything that has brought her to this point and wondering if there's a better way to live.

But not everything is as it seems..."

Wish You Were Here is a book of two halves. I have read a few books now that incorporate the coronavirus pandemic into them but it isn't the main focus. This book is mostly about the pandemic and virus. It is clear that a hell of a lot of research has gone into it, both from a Galápagos point of view and covid one.

Diana is a 29 year old art assistant who works at Sotheby's in NYC and her boyfriend Finn is a surgical resident. The coronavirus pandemic has just hit but Diana doesn't expect it to be a serious thing (much like how we all felt back in early March 2020!). 

The two had planned a trip to the Galápagos but Finn chooses to stay, anticipating a surge in hospital cases and urges Diana to go on without him. This first half is absolutely beautiful. Picoult writes Isabela Island so well that I could imagine myself being there and, although isolated as the island is in lockdown, it still sounds blissful.

We go into the second half and it is very covid-heavy. At the time of reading I actually ended up having to go for a covid test and England's restrictions got tighter. It feels like a very hard read even almost two years on because it's still all so real life. Finn's experiences working in a hospital at the peak of the pandemic are brilliantly written.

Despite my thoughts on it being hard to read, it is a beautiful story about self-discovery after a difficult time. One I would definitely recommend, but avoid if reading about covid or self-harm are triggering for you.