Review: Heading out to Wonderful, Robert Goolrick

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*

Heading out to Wonderful Robert Goolrick cover
It is the summer of 1948 when a handsome, charismatic stranger, Charlie Beale, back from war in Europe, shows up in the sleepy town of Brownsburg, Virginia. All he has with him are two suitcases: one contains a fine set of butcher knives; the other is full of money. Charlie should have turned around and walked back the other way, for what follows - the most passionate and tragic story of a forbidden love affair - will threaten to destroy everything and everyone in its path.

Robert Goolrick was born in a small town in Virginia and attended John Hopkins University. Fired after 30 years in the advertising business, Robert Goolrick wrote his memoir, The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life. Robert Goolrick currently lives in New York City.

I really looked forward to reading this book. I have seen it first back in June 2012 and have been checking it out on and off since then. There are various reasons why this book caught my eye but the most important was the combination between the title "Heading out to Wonderful" and the sentence about the guy having a suitcase full of money. To me that sounds like freedom and I was curious how the story would be going and if it would really give that freedom feeling.
The first thing that came over me when I started reading the book was the language. It was beautiful and enthralling and pulled me in immediately.
What I did not really feel was the impact Charlie should make according to the synopsis. He arrives in the town and though the people do show respect and seem to naturally accept him I go the feeling it was due to his hard work and friendliness more than his charisma and handsomeness.
The way the love affair start I found a bit strange. It is hard to see the build up especially from the view Sylvan. I did not really get why he felt the freedom to do what he did.
A different thing in the story I found difficult was the situation with the kid. Charlie friends a family with a 5 year old son. He takes the kid everywhere and Sam is a witness to a lot of things... you could say everything. He is young and does not understand everything. When Charlie asked him to lie I got angry. It is so wrong to ask a 5 year old to lie.
As you can see there are some loose ends in this book but the atmosphere and use of language make up for a big part.
Some quotes I liked

"When you're young, and you head out to wonderful, everything is fresh and bright as a brand new penny, but before you get to wonderful you're going to have to pass through all right. And when you get to all right, stop and take a good long look, because that may be as far as you're ever going to go"

“There is in this valley a beating heart. It is always and ever there. And when I am gone, it will beat for you and when you are gone, it will beat for your children and theirs, forever. Forever. Until there is no water, no air, no green in the spring or gold in the autumn, no stars in the sky or wind from the north. And when you cannot speak, it will speak for you. When you cannot see, it will be your eyes. When you cannot remember, it will be your memory. It will never forget you. And when you cannot be faithful, it will save a place for your return. This is a gift to you. It cannot be taken away. It is yours forever. It is the narrative of this world, and the scrapbook of your own small life, and, when you are gone into ash and darkness and the grave, it will tell your story.”

"Children remember staying up late. Grownups think about getting up early."

"It's a sad thing to watch your best friend turn into somebody you don't know anymore. Or even want to know."

Heading out to Wonderful
Author: Robert Goolrick
Publisher:  Hutchinson (Random House UK, Cornerstone)
ISBN-10:  1448164869
ISBN-13:  9781448164868
Pages: 304 (paperback)
Format: eBook
Hutchinson: eBook | Paperback

4 star review
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Melinda
AUTHOR
22 April, 2013 delete

I loved the last quote!! (I speak from experience)

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