Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Author: Ann Patchett
Publisher: Harper Perennial (Harper Collins)
Pub. Date: June 7, 2011 (hardcover); May 8, 2012 (paperback)
I was super excited to read this after reading such rave reviews when it came out last year. I think it made the best of 2011 list for almost everyone I know who read it. I have also enjoyed a few of Patchett's other books, especially Bel Canto, so I had high hopes for State of Wonder.
As soon as I finished reading this I texted my sister to tell her she, too, had to read it but that it would break her heart. Sometimes when I watch a scary movie (or one that scares me anyway) I have to remind myself that the characters are just actors; at one point in this book I had to remind myself that the characters were creations of the author's imagination, just to level the impact they had on me. As with Leaving Atlanta (by Tarayi Jones), there is one specific scene in this book that broke me and that I won't forget.
Before I go any further, here's what State of Wonder is about. Marina Singh is a pharmaceutical researcher working for a company in Minnesota, Vogel. For a couple years, Vogel has had a scientist, Dr. Swenson, doing research in the amazon to create a new drug that is sure to change lives all over the world. But they haven't heard anything from this scientist in two years. State of Wonder starts out with the notification that another scientist Vogel sent to the amazon to follow up on the progress of Dr. Swenson has died. Due to some of the circumstances, Marina is sent to follow up on not only Dr. Swenson's progress but to find out how her colleague, sent on a quick trip, died in the jungle.
What follows is a crazy trip to the amazon in which Marina deals with the intimidating and formidable Dr. Swenson, braves the jungle and its tribes and beasts, and comes face-to-face with questionable ethics of drug research in the amazon.
I haven't read a book of Patchett's in a while, so I guess I'd forgotten what her writing was like. Her writing was fabulous. And she also managed to create such real and interesting characters that I felt like this book just soaked me up in its pages. The research and ethical quandaries Marina stumbled upon were also thought provoking and added an interesting element to the storyline. In some ways this reminded me of Verghese's Cutting for Stone, (and both had main characters who were doctors). It was definitely an escape for me to travel to the Amazon, and State of Wonder is not without it's surprises! I loved this book and am glad I had the opportunity to read this! Makes me want to return to Patchett's back list to read what I have yet to read of hers.
Follow the rest of the tour!
Tuesday, May 8th: Unabridged Chick
Wednesday, May 9th: Take Me Away
Monday, May 14th: Proud Book Nerd
Tuesday, May 15th: Tiramisu Mom
Wednesday, May 16th: Jo-Jo Loves to Read!
Thursday, May 17th: Book Him Danno!
Friday, May 18th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Monday, May 21st: The Adventures of an Intrepid Leader
Tuesday, May 22nd: Lit and Life
Wednesday, May 23rd: Shall Write
Thursday, May 24th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, May 28th: Stiletto Storytime
Wednesday, May 30th: A Bookish Affair
Thursday, May 31st: Paperback Princess
Thursday, June 7th: Dolce Bellezza
Monday, June 11th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Tuesday, June 12th: Amused By Books
Wednesday, June 13th: Man of La Book
Thursday, June 14th: missris
Friday, June 15th: My Bookshelf
Monday, June 18th: A Library of My Own
Tuesday, June 19th: The Scarlet Letter