Updated: Dec 17, 2021
Thank you, Random House, for the #gifted copy of Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult, in exchange for an honest review. #partner
Well, Jodi Picoult fans. This one is polarizing. You are either going to like this one or not care for it. I fell into the latter half....
Set in New York City at the beginning of the pandemic, Diana embarks on a trip to the Galapagos Islands, leaving behind her surgeon boyfriend, Finn. What was supposed to be a vacation together, turns into a solo trip where Diana finds herself stuck on an island as it is essentially shut down due to the pandemic and Finn finds himself immersed in COVID-19 as he cares for patients on ventilators. Diana and Finn had their lives planned out, but they find their lives turned upside down by a virus that hit the world and upended everyone's lives.
This is the first book I have read where the pandemic is front and center in the plot. In all honesty, I felt it was too much too soon. There are letters that Finn writes Diana from the hospital that are incredibly detailed about patients suffering from, and dying from, coronavirus. They honestly gave me anxiety and I imagine if you work in health care, they would be very triggering. I withheld judgement until the end, but it just wasn't the book for me. Not just because of the pandemic plotline, but the story felt one dimensional and really bored me. Harsh, but true.
I will say, there is a twist that surprised me. But that was probably the only high point for me. And I'm all for the message of living each day to its fullest, but the message truly felt lost in the details of the pandemic. It just overshadowed everything about this story. I know, deep down, Picoult wanted to depict this story of a woman who had her entire life planned out, only to find the pandemic threw a wrench into it and made her realize that wasn't what she wanted. As well as a message of minimalism and what truly matters in life. I get that and I love that message, but it was completely lost.
There are also several content/trigger warnings to be aware of going in: including self-harm, attempted suicide, death of a loved one, and detailed depictions of COVID-19 scenes in the hospital setting.
All thoughts are my own. Who knows, you may like this one. I've seen reviews on both ends of the spectrum. Read and judge for yourself.
3 stars (I'm being generous..)