A must read book for 2022 takes us to the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, and to 2020 Manhattan in the grip of the pandemic. The contrast of these two worlds is so much part of so many of our lives. The push/pull (or Ying/Yang) of life is so well dramatized in this book.
The main character is forced by the pandemic to re-evaluate what is important to her in her life. She represents so many of us. She finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself. The novel takes us through her journey and she wades through the darkness to find the light.
A Must Read Based on a True Story
Based on a true story of a traveler stranded on a remote island, Wish You Were Hereis the first book I have read that tries to make sense of how all of our lives and dreams and sense of life changed with the pandemic.
I applaud Jodi Picoult for how she was able to capture the details and accuracy of what it was like to be a medical professional during the pandemic. She has not shied away from writing about an uncomfortable subject. This novel contains graphic accounts of people with Covid-19 as well as its wider consequences. It considers the grief and loss, both personal and collective, experienced by many during the pandemic.
It brought back vivid memories of those early days of the pandemic when uncertainty was high.
In the interview with Jodi Picoult at the back of the book, Jodi explains how the pandemic rocked her world. She felt adrift in her life and suddenly had no control over anything. Writing the book was a therapeutic way of freeing herself from her own paralysis.
The Author’s Note at the end details the intense research that she undertook in order to portray experiences by inviting survivors who had been on vents to share their experiences. Overwhelmingly, people experienced incredibly vivid, detailed dream states.
A Must Read Book Coming to Netflix
The rights to Wish You Were Here have been acquired by Netflix. This will make a great film (or series). I can see the amazing footage of the beauty of the Galápagos Islands and the fear and isolation of the COVID experience in a hospital in New York City when the pandemic first hit with devastating speed.
Book Study Questions and TopicsWish You Were Here’ is a great book for book reading groups. At the end of the book it offers a great deal of probing questions for discussion.
Other Must Read Books
CLICK HERE for my book review on The Gifts Of Imperfection by Brene Brown