I thought I would do my Saturday post tonight as we are leaving for Memphis in the morning. I just finished the book, Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick. You may have read his first novel, A Reliable Wife. When I saw Heading Out to Wonderful on the shelf at my library, I had to take it from the shelf and read the first few pages. I was hooked. But Wonderful is not a novel for the faint of heart...let me just warn you before you rush to the library or bookstore to get this tome. Mr Goolrick is a talented writer, one of those novelists who write so descriptively that the book seems to become a movie showing in your head. Heading out to Wonderful introduces the reader to Charlie Beale, a 39 year old man who comes to Virginia looking for peace. In his pick up truck you will find a suitcase full of money and a set of sharp butcher knives. Charlie takes his place in the small closeknit community. He finds work at the local butcher shop and eventually buys himself a house with the help of Will and Alma, his closest friends in town. Of all the people, Charlie meets he is touched most deeply by Will and Alma's young son, Sam. Five year old Sam adores Charlie, follows him everywhere and gives Charlie the nickname, Beebo. The first half of the book lulls you into a trance...you wish you could go and live in this little town, maybe next door to Charlie or Will and Alma. But there is no perfect place and soon human nature rears its sometimes ugly head. Charlie embarks on a romance with a married woman. A woman married to the richest, meanest man in town. The results are not pretty. When I read the last page of Heading Out to Wonderful and closed the book, I had to wonder, 'What in the World?" I still cannot really figure out the message that Mr Goolrick is sending to readers. I googled the book and read several reviews by critics and one interview with Mr Goolrick. I am still scratching my head over the things that I read. The author is a self admitted oddball who came from a home where children were not allowed their innocence. This helped me to understand more about Beebo and Sam. As many reviewers pointed out, how did Charlie get that suitcase full of money? It is never addressed in the book. Mr Goolrick is writing a prequel to Wonderful so maybe when I am able to read that, I will get some sense of who the REAL Charlie is. One point this book makes that I did "get" is the fact that sometimes we do not really know the people we see everyday. And to sum everything up, Mr Goolrick is a good writer. He crafts characters that you genuinely care about, flaws and all. I will continue to read any book that he may write in the future.
When I completed Wonderful, I started on 1000 Gifts by Ann Volkscamp. I have heard so many people praise this author for the poetry of her words. To be honest, it took me a while to get into this book and I think it is not a book you sit down and read for enjoyment. It is a book that you might keep on your bedside table and you read a portion each night, reflecting on it as you fall asleep.
So, that is my latest adventure in reading. If you read Heading Out to Wonderful, I would be interested to see what you think of this book!