By Nathaniel Finestone

This Week’s Review

“Emily Henry is my newest automatic must-buy author” -Jodi Picoult

Wish you were here by Jodi Picoult

“A predictable tale competently told” -Nathaniel Finestone

Wish You Were Here is set in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. A seemingly distant time now filled with uncertainty and doubt, two things sorely missing from this book.

It tells the story of a big city art seller Diana O’Toole and her trip to the Galapagos Islands, a trip she goes on by herself since her doctor boyfriend can’t leave the city because of the recent plague outbreak. In the hands of a less talented author, this book might have been sent straight to the remainder bin. Jodi Picoult manages to elevate these characters and setting solidly into the realm of mediocrity, which makes it harder to review.

There is nothing wrong with this book. No major structural flaws, no one-dimensional heroes or villains, but there’s also nothing exciting or gripping about it. Even the major twist halfway through manages to fall flat. In the author’s note at the end, Picoult says that it didn’t take her very long to write this book, and honestly it shows. I expect that she wanted the recentness of the global pandemic to do a lot of heavy lifting when it came to setting this plot, but all it did was make the ending seem contrived.

As much as this book did not grab me in the way I like books to grab me, it did make me want to seek out Picoult’s other books. The prose are well constructed and the nonlinearity of the narrator’s backstory shows a practiced hand. As much as this probably is not her best work, I would still recommend it to fans of her previous books, and who knows? Maybe it could be an interesting mini series if/when a covid nostalgia wave comes around.