Jodi Picoult’s novel, Wish You Were Here, is the story of Diana O’Toole, a young woman whose vacation to the Galapagos Islands, and well-planned life, is derailed by the Covid pandemic in March 2020, forcing her to re-assess everything she has considered essential. What will happen to her, and those closest to her, in the weeks to come?
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Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
“In a strange way, being stripped of everything — my job, my significant other, even my clothing and my language — has left only the essential part of me.”
From best-selling author Jodi Picoult comes a compelling look at the early months of the Covid pandemic in New York, juxtaposed with Diana O’Toole’s long-planned visit to the remote Galapagos, where she is forced to stay for weeks after the islands close down. Gradually, she realizes she is becoming someone entirely and surprisingly new.
Published in late 2021, while the author was in pandemic isolation, Wish You Were Here is dramatic, fast-paced, and very timely.
Kristine Huntley of Booklist gave this book a starred review. She comments that Jodi Picoult is a novelist always attuned to the defining spirit of the present day, and here “attains new heights in a keen and vivid pandemic drama, stealthily surprising and very moving.”
In her review in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Cynthia Dickison comments, “Picoult abandons her usual stylistic tricks — except for one big one — and it makes for a satisfying and thought-provoking narrative of a woman whose entire ecosystem has shifted. The truth of Diana’s story is revealed in her heart-to-heart with her new young confidante. “I have to go back to real life sometime,” she says. To which Beatriz responds wistfully, “For a while, didn’t this feel real?”
Claire Hennessy of The Irish Times notes that while this novels isn’t groundbreaking, “its appeal lies in the satisfying blend of familiar Picoult elements, all operating at their best. The balance between the personal journey and the big issues is deftly managed. This is a smart and emotional page-turner that makes space for individual life crises in the face of a global one.”
Jodi Picoult is the bestselling author of 30 novels, and the recipient of a number of popular and literary awards. Several of her books have been adapted into films, and rights to Wish You Were Here have been sold to Netflix. Her books have been translated into a number of languages, and are sold worldwide.
She was born in New York, is a 1987 graduate of Princeton University, and has an MA from Harvard University. She currently lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.
Her extensive website is at jodipicoult.com, and she also posts on Threads and TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram.