That is the best way I can express how I felt after reading WISH YOU WERE HERE.
In March of 2020, Diana and Finn are thrust into the hell that is the COVID-19 pandemic at a time of uncertainty and panic. There are no vaccines and there is very little hope in sight.
Diana flees to the Galapagos Islands on a long-time planned trip that she was supposed to take with Finn, but as a resident, at a NYC hospital, he has no choice but to stay put.
The dream trip quickly turns upside down as her luggage gets lost, her hotel is shut down, and the island goes into quarantine.
And that’s just the beginning.
As Jodi Picoult does, she delicately and brilliantly takes us back to that time period and we watch these characters live through what was our reality…and then some.
The pacing felt slow at first but don’t be fooled, it picks up and you will be glad you kept reading. Feel free to DM me the moment you finish because it’s impossible to discuss on here without spoiling it for others!
I do want to stress that this storyline is centered around the initial height of the pandemic. If you or your loved ones had Covid, you lost someone to Covid or are still in any way are dealing with the aftermath, this may not be the book for you right now.
Diana O’Toole is perfectly on track. She will be married by thirty, done having kids by thirty-five, and move out to the New York City suburbs, all while climbing the professional ladder in the cutthroat art auction world. She’s an associate specialist at Sotheby’s now, but her boss has hinted at a promotion if she can close a deal with a high-profile client. She’s not engaged just yet, but she knows her boyfriend, Finn, a surgical resident, is about to propose on their romantic getaway to the Galápagos—days before her thirtieth birthday. Right on time.
But then a virus that felt worlds away has appeared in the city, and on the eve of their departure, Finn breaks the news: It’s all hands on deck at the hospital. He has to stay behind. You should still go, he assures her, since it would be a shame for all of their nonrefundable trip to go to waste. And so, reluctantly, she goes.
Almost immediately, Diana’s dream vacation goes awry. Her luggage is lost, the Wi-Fi is nearly nonexistent, and the hotel they’d booked is shut down due to the pandemic. In fact, the whole island is now under quarantine, and she is stranded until the borders reopen. Completely isolated, she must venture beyond her comfort zone. Slowly, she carves out a connection with a local family when a teenager with a secret opens up to Diana, despite her father’s suspicion of outsiders.
In the Galápagos Islands, where Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was formed, Diana finds herself examining her relationships, her choices, and herself—and wondering if when she goes home, she too will have evolved into someone completely different.