The portraits of the land and its people are described with an extraordinary eye for detail, and the story flows through swells of prejudice, innocence, faith, and the question of whether one can ever really wish another well. The climactic courtroom battle is as unpredictable as it is relentless and will not only decide the fates of Lou, Oz, and their mother, but also those they have touched.
©2000 Columbus Rose, Ltd; (P)2000 Hachette Audio
"Richly textured." (Library Journal)
"Baldacci triumphs with his best novel yet, an utterly captivating drama." (Publishers Weekly)
Those of you who are expecting the usual David Baldacci novel are going to be very happily surprised or incredibly disappointed. This is such a huge departure from his regular fare that I almost thought I had downloaded the wrong book. Thank goodness I was wrong and kept listening.
While I very much enjoy Baldacci at his normal best, this novel was a whole new look at what a fine author can do with simple storytelling.
You are transported to the hills of Virginia and literally plopped into the lives of Lou and Oz, two displaced New York children who, along with their invalid mother, are suddenly made to exist in a world so different from what they know that you wonder if they have any hope of adjusting.
Entwined throughout the slowly developed plot are descriptions of Virginia mountain life that are so real you can feel the morning mist rolling down the mountainside. I found myself repeatedly stopping what I was doing and losing myself in the moment. It was almost a shock to my system to come back to reality and realize that I could live there (indeed it felt as if I had, so real are the pictures painted by the author).
The narrator has an almost hypnotic affect on you, something she probably found easy to do given the material she was reading - not to diminish her abilities as she has a very pleasant voice and is very articulate. She made the story seem almost Waltonesque.
All in all, it was a most pleasant experience and deserves high marks for both author and narrator. I had the pleasure of leaving reality for a while, enjoying an alternate existence and returning to my life a bit happier than when I left. Can you ask more of a story teller?
And lest you think the story is simplistic, rest assured, the ending is awesome, the buildup to it enthralling and the whole experience worth every minute.
Baldacci has outdone himself and deserves a five star rating.
There are a couple of Authors whose books I will purchase without bothering with reviews or even checking out what the story is about. David Baldacci is one of those writers. This story is definitely different than his usual books and I enjoy seeing an Author step out of his/her usual genre and write something different. This story touches the heart and digs deep into the best and worst of human behavior. I listened to this story straight through and was never bored. David does go into great detail to describe the setting and the people and all of it adds to the understanding of what it must have been like to be yanked from the comfort zone of your life and then tossed into surviving in what had to be a culture and lifestyle foreign to most of us. I found myself feeling for the characters and wondering how miserable I might have been under the circumstances. I for one, thoroughly enjoyed this book.
I had to read this book for a grad class. I love this story. It's a lovely and complicated coming of age novel. It has all the characteristics of a great story, humor, tragedy, love, and a good message for the listener/reader to come away with. The narrator does a nice job and I'm glad I listened to it instead of read the book.
I only read David's books that are not real suspenseful because I don't like high suspense. This was awesome and very entertaining.
Am sending to my sister (who grew up during the depression) and and my daughter and granddaughter who will be the verbal historians. ONE SUGGESTION I grew up in the south with farm ancestors and in a farming community. .
When this very good reader says "brogans" it is like chalk on a board. The correct pronunciation is "bro(long "O") ANS (like the word and) emphasis on the ANS. My parents talked about them all the time.
An thinking when I go to visit my 9 year-old grand-twins for Thanksgiving, we will listen to this book together, They live in Virginia now.
"Wish You Well," is heartwarming. Baldacci is truely a wonderful story teller. The book is rich with imagery and detail that makes the story come alive. No movie can capture the characters faces and scenes that came alive in my mind as I listened to Norma Lana read. It is wonderful that Baldacci shared this story of his family. I highly recommend this book.
Very engaging. He should do more from the heart writing. This book is a real literary classic. Very descriptive of life growing up in the virginia mountains.
This delightful book ranks up with the best books I have ever read (heard). What a wonderful story of love, adaptation, and survival. David Baldacci may be wasting his time on suspense novels. This is his best work.
"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".
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.
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