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Publisher's Summary

In 1948, a mysterious and charismatic man arrives in a small Virginia town carrying two suitcases - one contains his worldly possessions, the other is full of money. He soon inserts himself into the town's daily life, taking a job in the local butcher shop and befriending the owner and his wife and their son. But the passion that develops between the man and the wife of the town's wealthiest citizen sets in motion a series of events that not only upset the quiet town but threaten to destroy both him and the woman.

©2012 Robert Goolrick. Published by arrangement with Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing Company, Inc. (P)2012 HighBridge Company.

Critic Reviews

"Goolrick effortlessly creates a timeless, erotically charged tale of illicit passion and peoples it with a unique cast of characters, ranging from a gifted black seamstress to a country girl besotted with Hollywood movie stars and fashion. Finely crafted fiction from a captivating writer." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.3 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not an easy read but beautifully written

Robert Goolrick is a great writer he knows how to turn a phrase and his descriptions are always lush. I read the Reliable Wife when it first came out it was an odd story but well written and a book that stuck with me much longer than I expected it to and I actually liked The Reliable Wife the longer I was away from it and I think this one may end up the same way. So, I had high hopes for this book expecting and getting Goolricks fantastic writing but the story was a much slower simmer than I expected it to be, it made me sit on the edge of my seat not from the story really, but in the waiting for the other shoe to drop, you just know something bad is coming.

I am not sure how I felt about Charlie dragging this little boy along with him on his trysts, I don’t understand why he took him along it’s not like it was his child. I think what he put the little boy through was worse than anything else Charlie did. Another story from this author that I think will stick with me awhile and probably will end up liking more the farther away I am from it. But I think that is the genius of Goolrick he is an amazing writer but his books are never easy but they will touch you and stay with you even if you didn’t totally love the book.

Norman Dietz is the narrator of this one and I’m just not sure what I thought of him; all of his voices sounded like old men, including the little boy and the women. But he fit the book well, so I am not saying he was awful it was just his variations on voices weren’t that different. I hope that makes sense.

If you haven’t read Goolrick’s biography – “The End of the World as we Know It” you won’t see how biographical Goolrick’s work is. I think to really “get” his fiction you should read his biography.

3 ½ Stars


4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Conflicted!

The narrator was outstanding, and I knew something horrible would happen...as it does in Goolrick's books. The three star review is because I wanted to know MORE...more about what happened, more of everything about everyone, and most assuredly, I wanted more reasons for everything. Sigh.

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  • Joni
  • Seattle
  • 07-22-15

Greatly disturbed by involving a 5-6 year old in adulterous secrets and witnessing murder/suicide.

A young child witnessing an adulterous affair and told to keep it secret as well as witnessing a suicide/murder is a cruel and not entertaining read. This was definitely not cool!!

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Narration ruined the book!

Would you try another book from Robert Goolrick and/or Norman Dietz?

Norman's throaty wet voice completely ruined this for me. It was unbearable to listen to.

Any additional comments?

Comments for the book- excluding narration:<br/>What a beautiful, understated prose style that was! The words brought every scene into focus, like a movie progressing right in front of my eyes. Many of the book's characters were extremely likable, like sweet Alma that is always right (!), the boy that loved Charlie so much, the old twin ladies and of course Charlie. So what give the book only 3.5 stars? Because of a couple of things. There were many pages of introspection from the narrator, who you dont know who it is until the very end. Those passages made no sense and would have been better off cut. The book left loose ends, like where did Charlie and his money came from? Why did he run away? We never find out. As for the climax of the story... I felt very unprepared for it. Surprise is one thing. But there were no indications that would have lead us to believe what Charlie did. Especially in front of Sam, traumatizing him for life. The one thing to take away is the beautiful prose that transported to you seamlessly into that era, that town, that life... even for a little while.

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  • Jim
  • Lewiston, ME, United States
  • 10-02-13

Way less than Wonderful!

What disappointed you about Heading Out to Wonderful?

The storyline was horrible, disturbing, sick and twisted. It left me wondering why the author, who can definitely write, would choose to tell a story that was so dark and then name it Heading Out to Wonderful. None of the characters, with the possible exception of the little boy, were likable nor were they fully developed. The ending was graphic and gruesome and I don't think I will ever look at a Meat Butcher the same again.

What was most disappointing about Robert Goolrick’s story?

Involving a little boy in the sick and twisted tale of the main characters' affair with a dim-witted married woman. None of the characters in the story were likable and therefore why read about them?

How could the performance have been better?

The narration was fine, it was the story that was awful.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No

Any additional comments?

Steer clear!

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  • Story
  • Sandra
  • Edwards, Colombia
  • 02-13-13

Didn't see anything "Wonderful" about it

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Maybe a therapist to figure out why someone would write something like this

What could Robert Goolrick have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Left out the kid viewing the sex, and the bloody murder scene

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Nothing, everything

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Amazement that I listened to the whole thing. I kept thinking that it would get better, instead it got worse.

Any additional comments?

I think I have probably said too much already

  • Overall
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Not enough for me

Would you try another book from Robert Goolrick and/or Norman Dietz?

Not sure that I would. I was left wanting to know more about the characters and what impact their history made on their life decisions. There was no impact in this story so it was a bit dry for me.

Has Heading Out to Wonderful turned you off from other books in this genre?

no

What didn’t you like about Norman Dietz’s performance?

I think the narrator was fine.

Any additional comments?

It is not a book that I would listen to again and I have sadly almost forgotten all of it.

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  • Joanne
  • indio, CA, USA
  • 07-17-12

Disappointed

Would you try another book from Robert Goolrick and/or Norman Dietz?

No

Any additional comments?

Overly descriptive of things not relevant to the story. Very slow and boring.