Have you ever been on a vacation where someone you loved wasn’t able to join you? My late husband and I stayed at a fun hotel in Oahu where the slogan “Wish You Were Here” was written in the swimming pool tile.
In Jodi Picoult’s new novel, Wish You Were Here, Diana O’Toole goes alone on a bucket-list vacation to an island in the Galapagos. The date is March 15, 2020. Her boyfriend, Dr. Finn Colson, can’t go because he is a New York City hospital resident and all leave was canceled the day before they leave due to the recent Covid-19 outbreak. Before the trip, Diana’s life goals were set in stone. She has a successful art business career at Sotheby’s. She is not yet engaged but knows Finn will pop the question soon. The only thing off-kilter in her life is her relationship with her mother, who was absent most of Diana’s childhood.
As soon as Diana reaches the island, it goes under shut-down. There is no transportation to and from the island. WiFi is practically nonexistent. Diana’s hotel closes just before she arrives, but fortunately, a kind grandmother lets her stay in a basement apartment. She befriends the woman’s troubled granddaughter, and eventually her son, Gabriel. While stuck on the island for much longer than expected, Diana has plenty of time to ponder her relationship with Finn, her relationship with her mother, her career and all of her life goals. Occasionally she can receive some of Finn’s emails describing the difficulties of treating Covid patients when so little was known about the disease.
AND THEN THERE IS A TWIST that took me by surprise. I love it when a book does that! I don’t want to say any more about the plot because it is best to go into this without knowing what happens.
This is a Covid novel. It examines the horrible pandemic we have been faced with since March 2020. It looks at the long-term effects of Covid on the caregivers, the survivors, and those left behind. It is poignant, honest, and written with dignity.
4 stars. A few parts were too slow or just seemed to restate medical information, and that is what kept me from a 5-star rating. Jodi Picoult writes best-sellers, and this will certainly be another one.
Thank you to Kathleen Q. of Penguin Random House for my widget in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication for Wish You Were Here is November 30, 2021.