Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

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All the books I reviewed last year, even if the story was said to be set in 2020, I refused to accept it to be so unless there was a passing reference to the lockdowns. There were probably only one or two that even made a mild reference to it.
I did not realise, however, how strange it would be to actually read about a fictional tale set in the midst of the actual pandemic.
By the time I picked this book up, like many others, I had forgotten what the blurb had said about it. It opens in the initial stages of the pandemic, where people in New York were still unsure that it was a real thing (by this point in the year, we had already lived three months of a lockdown in HK, and this felt surreal, to say the least!)
I will not say much more about the narrative than say that it’s about Diane, looking forward to a promotion and a holiday ending up with an experience she never expected. I know that I, like many others, read fiction to get away, but the setting is still important. When I read about people talking about it being 2020 without the confusion that had everyone across the globe in a collective dilemma, I am almost offended! (although I do understand how hard it might have been for authors to deal with this disruption in their predecided books). Diane and her gradual understanding of the situation, the place where she finds her life, was done well. I read it in nearly two settings.
I would not recommend it to anyone triggered by the events of and recollecting the past two years’ events. I admit that the ending (or almost ending/last quarter) was entirely out of the blue. I did not see it coming, nor did I imagine how the author then used the content to present the rest of the story. The author substantiated her story with facts that led her to write in such a manner, and that was fascinating reading in itself.
I know I am being vague about Diane’s experiences and the holiday or even all the other characters that feature in the book. That is done on purpose because the buildup and the twists are better experienced with fresh eyes.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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