This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection, the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.
Jean Thompson approaches Wide Blue Yonder the way she has The Year We Left Home and The Humanity Project with multiple points of view. There’s Josie, a lovesick teenager girl, her mother Elaine suffering from mid-life crisis, great uncle Harvey, a severe mental breakdown leaving him mentally challenged and obsessed with the Weather Network, and the marginalized Rolando, a misfit, a loner, petty criminal and a blossoming schizophrenic.
The story develops from these disparate personalities, examining their various stages and status in life and the tension builds as these lives converge towards the story’s climax.
Thompson’s characterization is superb. She creates characters that stay with you. They become like acquaintances and they’re remembered like someone you’ve known.
What really makes this novel remarkable is her examination of mental illness from the benign Uncle Harvey to the ferocious Rolando. She doesn’t describe how they appear to others but how the world appears from the point of view of those afflicted.
The challenge with developing a story with multiple points of view is bringing it all together so the ending seems inevitable. Wide Blue Yonder’s ending with the best-case scenario being played out for all those involved smacked of Pollyannaism.
Still, this book is more than a worthwhile read for all its positive attributes.