"Wish You Well" could have been a fairly credible story about two young children from New York who, through tragedy, are brought to live on an impoverished farm in Virginia and who encounter the stereotypical Southerners who live in the surrounding area. I am generally a Baldacci fan, but I cannot recommend this book. The narrator, who is actually blessed with good vocal quality, unfortunately reads "Wish You Well" in a flat, tedious monotone throughout the story and saps any energy Baldacci may have written into the script. The death of a main character, potentially humorous incidents the two children encounter during their first days on the farm, and the ending of dramatic court scene are all read in the same, unvaried, lackluster tone. Further, the narrator's egregious rendering of a Southern accent is almost an insult to those of us who have lived in the South. The core of the novel is about the Southern way of life and its people, but the narrator reads the dialogue as if it were a foreign language whose dialect she had never encountered. Baldacci, himself, seems to recognize that "Wish You Well" is not one of his better novels; through the narrator, he spends significant time at the beginning of the story explaining what the novel is about, and he preaches at the end of the narration about the current plight of modern America. Take your children to the park or learn a new hobby; you'll get far more out of it than you will with "Wish You Well".
I have loved all of Baldacci's books so far, but this one is at the absolute top of my list. A beautiful story of family and history. Baldacci has an incredible way of pulling us, the reader, into the story and scenes as if we're there experiencing it for ourselves. This is a must read!!!
Nice coming of age story for the two main characters however the narrative made the time process of this selection listen take weeks..boredom went hand in hand..maybe check this one out in print
As a woman born and bred in Southwest Virginia, whose father was a coal miner, I really wanted to like this book. The overall message of the story and the intention of Baldacci to memorialize his family history is admirable. He represents the conflict between the natural resource companies and the people who they exploit and are left to deal with the spoils of mineral extraction accurately and passionately. So that's good. One issue with this reading is the pronunciation of "Appalachian" as "App - a - LAY - chan". This pronunciation is incorrect and an affront to those of us who have ancestors that settled the area and have lived there for years. We have said "Appalachia" and others have no right to change it. Think about how disrespectful it would be to suddenly start pronouncing Cherokee as "SHer - o - kee" or Schenectady, NY as "Sche - NEEK - tady". Saying AppaLAYchan does not illustrate one's education, only that one is, at best, ignorant, or,
at worst, does not care. Other blatant issues include a crow circling on warm air currents and a friendly Panther who had black skin. I just wish Mr. Baldacci had gotten feedback from someone who was born and raised in the deep mountains of SW Va. to more accurately portray the culture and natural history. ~ A Coal Miners Daughter.
Maybe in a few years
This book was not the normal Baldacci. I don't dislike his normal books but I really liked this one a lot. It really put you in a different place and time. I am not good at writing reviews, most of the time I don't, so the fact that I am writing anything at all should show how much I enjoyed it.