This is a light holiday read, so I wasn’t expecting Tolstoy but this is a really poor book.
Firstly, for much of the novel, nothing actually happens. We only get plot points starting to kick in about halfway through the narrative. Now, of course a novel does not HAVE to be plot-driven but this one clearly is; the characters are far too vaguely drawn for it to be anything else.
Secondly, the characters are utterly unconvincing as people. Heck, the central three men aren’t even convincing as men. At one point, Charlie (or should that be Charlotte) gets a hankering for some ‘retail therapy’. Seriously? A bloke on holiday in Crete – sun, sea, booze, birds – and he wants to go SHOPPING? He then agonises about what he’s wearing “My back-up ensemble, a pair of beige trousers and a white patterned shirt, had never been matched together before and though technically they should have had no trouble getting on together, for some reason the whole thing didn’t quite work.” Later, he complains about being “left on his own” for a day. Really, fella, dry your eyes and strap on a pair. The other two male characters are equally needy and the trio just don’t engage with each other as men do. I expected them to have a night in watching Dirty Dancing, drinking Cosmopolitans and experimenting with make-up. I know we’re meant to be all metrosexual these days but there’s a certain honesty and directness (and clumsiness) about how men relate to each other and it’s just not reflected in this book.
Thirdly, there are some odd factual errors. Gayle describes a Greek taxi driver as surly and resentful. When this same driver deposits Charlie and Tom in a village for the evening, the locals scrutinise the exotic incomers with suspicion. This is nonsense. Anyone who has visited Greece knows that they are some of the most friendly, courteous, welcoming folk in Europe. Gayle also seems to think that the cathedral in Heraklion is Roman Catholic. I have no words.
The closest I came to feeling any sympathy for any of the characters was when it transpired that Charlie had taken only three books on holiday with him. And one of them was by Dan Brown. The humanity.
As a literary experience, this is like reading a novel length version of one of those short stories in women’s magazines, written by someone who’s been on a creative writing course in the Lake District. Don’t get me wrong; there’s some good chick lit out there – Me Before You was a book group choice recently and it was rather good. Mike Gayle seems to have carved himself out a niche in the beach read market and good luck to him but he’s not for me.
Wish You Were Here Audio CD – Unabridged, 1 July 2007
$4.60 delivery: 22 - 31 Dec
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- Audio CD : 2 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1840327081
- ISBN-13 : 978-1840327083
- Product Dimensions : 12.3 x 14.1 x 1 cm
- Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton (1 July 2007)
- Language: : English
- Customer Reviews:
As you d expect from Gayle, the laughs flow thick and fast, making this a top match for your sunny holiday spirits. - GlamourAn observant offering - HeatThis book explores the strength of friendship, getting older and settling down with forthright honesty and humour. Wise, witty and with endearing characters, this is a feel-good read with lots of laughs. - WomanThe prolific Mike Gayle knows a thing or two about the male psyche, and how not even an extended adolescence will prevent the pain from catching up in the end. - HeraldIf we needed more proof that men don t think like women, then Wish You Were Here delivers it in extra strength doses . . . A fun story of three 30 somethings as they come to rueful and thankful realisation that they are no longer 18. - CandisThis book makes great beach reading . . . A heartwarming and funny tale. - Love It!A delightfully witty tale - Star
Number One Bestselling author Mike Gayle explores beach basics for the broken-hearted in his new romantic comedy WISH YOU WERE HERE
4.3 out of 5
80 global ratings
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Top reviews from other countries
Not Exactly TolstoyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 September 2016
3 people found this helpful
MoreReviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 October 2018
I must confess this writer is my all time favourite. I get through two or three books a week, I know , sad, !. I only have one complaint , I can read faster than he can write .
2 people found this helpful
A perfect holiday readReviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 July 2018
I read this book in a day while lying on a sunbed in Crete. It was the perfect holiday read for me. The story built up nicely with likeable characters & nothing too shocking happened. There was a beginning, a middle & an end though which is always good. It does show how lives can change when 3 friends go on holiday together.
A Fun ReadReviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 September 2018
Lots of funny parts and very uplifting. A really great author and I have downloaded most of Mike Gayle’s books as they are such fun and interesting to read.
One person found this helpful
An easy readReviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 August 2020
Perfect for a holiday read. Nothing particularly exciting happens but you get to know the characters which is good. I like Mike Gayle but wouldn't say it was his best.