Title: Wish You Were Here
Author: Jodi Picoult
Narrated by: Marin Ireland
What's it about?
Diana O'Toole is well on her way to reaching her life goals in the timeline she's laid out. She's even about to be engaged, if the ring she found in his drawer is any indication. But then, everything changes. Nothing is like it used to be and no one has any idea what tomorrow will bring as Covid-19 sweeps across the world, leaving Diana stuck on Isabella Island in the Galápagos, trying to decide if being home with her Finn, or if her place is in the Galápagos with the amazing people she's been living with for weeks.
But, of course, Covid isn't known for it's discrimination and compassion and magical times on the island may not be enough to leave Diana unscathed by the virus reeking havoc everywhere.
Favorite Character: Diana is my favorite. While there are so many characters that I liked, but I think Diana is my favorite because of the diversity in her experiences throughout the story, having more experiences then most of the other characters. I also respected her conviction and fight for what she believed in. And I liked that she wasn't above questioning her own beliefs and reevaluating her choices, beliefs and goals.
I also liked Kiyami Ito as she as older, wise, quirky, kind and...I don't know. I just really liked her.
Least Favorite Character: Eva St. Clerck probably takes the lead here, just slightly over Finn. That's not because they are bad, horrible people, but Eva just presents herself as cold hearted and money focused, neither of which is attractive to me. But she's also not around a ton so it's hard to know enough about her to be sure she's really among the worst characters.
Finn, too, isn't a bad person. As a stand alone character, I'd probably like him, but I don't love him with Diana. He's sweet and all but kind of oblivious to the "real" Diana which just made me feel less then thrilled with him.
Favorite Part: Nothing immediately stand out to me, but I did enjoy her time on the island when she got situated and times with her mother. I know, that's not very specific, no specific moments stand out, just setting and collections of moments. The island was fun, intimate and sweet. I liked the people there. And I liked the subplot of Diana and her mother, the troubled relationship filled with so much hurt and little understanding slowly transforming for Diana.
There are so many topics that stand out to me, topics that have stuck with me and had me talking to my husband and kids. These were topics grounded in our reality of the times we live in today and they were done so naturally that it never felt like they were in your face, something that I appreciated immensely.
The first and obvious is the pandemic. Now, I've heard a lot of people talk about how they're living it, they don't want to read about it and, I get it. I wasn't sure I wasn't going to be one of them. But then I read this (well, listened) book and i found comfort in reading about the things I'd lived through, right down to the contradicting information about how bad the virus really was. It was oddly validating to see some of the very things I lived through and felt, put in words for all prosperity.
The thing I didn't expect to find in this book were some other very real and very difficult conversations about mental health and sexuality and, even, how the two often find themselves intertwined as people struggle with questions of acceptance and self worth as they embark on their own, authentic journeys. They weren't huge story lines and not often in the forefront, but I loved seeing the representation and the conversation opened up.