Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Wish You Were Here: A Novel: Picoult, Jodi: 9781984818416: Amazon.com: Books

It is March, 2020, and Diane may have just made the faux pas of her career.  She’d been on such a positive trajectory, climbing the ladder in the art business world just as she’d planned.  In fact, most of her life was going as planned – her life with Finn, her boyfriend, their New York, fast-paced, busy lives — really everything.  But now, who knows?  This would be the perfect time to get away to the Galapagos, as she and Finn had planned,  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as though Finn will be able to get away, as this novel coronavirus has coopted his surgical training, and all hands are on deck for caring for Covid patients at the hospital.  Should she go on her own, as he’s suggested? The next few months will turn their lives upside-down, as they have done for all of us – but not nearly in the way you will expect!

When I realized that this book was taking place during Covid, I was apprehensive about reading it.  We’ve all been through it and we’re all pretty over it – to say the very least!  The masks, the distancing, the isolation – enough already!!  

But actually, this story has a novel plot line, with ample twists and turns that keep it fresh.  Covid is only a part of the story.  There are gorgeous natural scenes in the Galapagos that engage our imagination.  There are characters who are experiencing familial issues that are unrelated to the pandemic that will distract you from thinking about your mask and your disinfectant.  And there is deep discussion about art that always highlights our humanity.  

Most importantly, this narrative suggests we strive to seek our own silver lining from the pandemic.  Diane finds hers, in her relationship with her mother, in her self-discovery, in her appreciation of living in the moment.  While there has been devastating loss, unspeakable fractionation within our population, and the unearthing of so much injustice during this pandemic, there has also been newfound light.  There has been a slowing down, a “time out,” so to speak, during which we’ve had a chance to reevaluate and reassess.  There has been more intensive time with some loved ones, even while there has been time away from others, which can give us time to appreciate each other on a whole different level.  There’s been time to appreciate what we do have.  

Yes, this may all sound a little pollyannish, but I am, at the end of the day, an optimist.  It helps me to find something good even in things that are hard.   

How exactly is this expressed in the story?  I guess you’ll have to read it to find out…!