Monday, May 23, 2011

Wish You Well by David Baldacci

I really liked this novel and recommend it.  I realized about 30 pages in that I had read this book before.  I went a little crazy trying to remember when, and who had recommended it to me.  I still haven't figured it out.  I enjoyed reading it again, and found I already had all the imagery of the setting in my head.

Lou is 12 and her brother is 7 when they are in a tragic car crash that leaves their mom in a catatonic state, and they move to live with their Great-grandma high in the mountains of Virginia.  Of course Lou is spunky, smart and endearing.  You love her from the start, faults and all.  Oz is a sweet little boy who teaches Lou through his limitless faith and ability to love.

The story is predictable (even if you haven't read it before), but it's still nice.  The main characters learn what you hope they will learn, and their relationships grow as they have to rely on each other.  Life is hard, there's a very real "enemy," and the poor kids have to deal with loss after loss.  BUT overall you leave with a good feeling.  It reminds me most of To Kill a Mockingbird.  And it has a nice storybook ending.

In his Author's Note, David Baldacci says: "Once we reach adulthood, most of us assume we know all there is to know about our parents and other family members.  However, if you take the time to ask questions and actually listen to the answers, you may find there is still much to learn about people so close to you."  I had this type of experience right before my dad died.  My sisters were filling out a little Grandpa book, and I learned some great stories about my dad's life as a child that somehow I hadn't ever heard before.  So I agree with his sentiment.

Here's a quote from one of the new friends they make on the mountain: "See, that why I ain't go to church.  Figger I got me a church wherever I be.  Want'a talk to God, well I say, 'Howdy-howdy, God,' and we jaw fer a bit."

Another one I liked:  "________ had had no material possessions to his name and yet had been the happiest creature Lou had ever met.  He and God would no doubt get along famously."

My favorite, that choked me up a bit:
"One day you're gonna get bigger than me, then I'm going to be running to you when I get scared."
"How do you know that?"
"Because that's the deal God makes between big sisters and their little brothers."

There's an afterward titled, Today, which kind of felt like those updates on the characters that sometimes roll at the end of movies.  It seemed a little unnecessary to me.  I did really like the Letter from the Author, which followed it, that included old photographs of his ancestors that lived in the mountains.

Have any of you read it?  Did you recommend it to me years ago?  Like 6 or 7?  I hate when I can't remember stuff!


Sharlene, Mom, Grammy said...

Kammy, I love this review. So tender and so personal.

I haven't read this book, but it sounds like something I would really like. Takes place close to my neck of the woods. Virginia borders Tennessee, along with 7 other states. :)

From your review, it reminds me (a little) of *Miracles on Maple Hill,* by Virginia Sorensen (Newberry Medal-winner) said...

adding it to my list. I love to Kill a Mockingbird

Sharlene, Mom, Grammy said...

I'm now on the waiting list at our local library. :) Guess lots of people like this book.

Sharn W said...

i love this book also, i find it chalenging enough to stay interested throughout the whole thing, and the characters created are just amazing.i really like this review as it reminded me about the softer side of the book, not just all the hardships the children face.