I was going through a rough emotional patch these past few days. I was feeling like I was making the worst choices and expecting too much out of people, or people weren’t meeting my expectations. Due to these sentiments, I decided to search for a book where someone was going through something worst than me, and did this book pay up.
Wish I Were Here by Erin Lavan is a short novel in which the main character, Savannah Waters, finds herself in a roller coaster of a journey. Savannah is a painter who around the time of her 40-year-old birthday finds out that her ex-boyfriend has died. This ex had a self-portrait of her naked, which she wants back, but it has already been sold. She has a breakdown of sorts, landing her in jail, ending up with her going to a psychiatrist. Her and the psychiatrist have this weird relationship which leads Savannah in combination with a whole bunch of weird characters to be part of a motorcycle trip through Europe.
The meat of the book is this European Journey and its cast of characters. Before Savannah goes on this trip, the book mostly focuses on her ordeal after finding out her ex-boyfriend is dead. The first few chapters are really intriguing, making you want to find out what the end-result will be between her and the psychiatrist, between her and her search for the self-portrait. Once the actual trip begins and the weird cast of characters gets introduced; they are all rich, in their late 30’s and over, and mostly being treated by the psychiatrist, it gets a little confusing. It becomes like a weird acid trip. There’s aliens, WWII theories, prescription drugs, and weird sexual tension.
Savannah Waters is an interesting character, she makes lots of sexually inspired comparisons and makes a lot of questionable decisions. Savannah is one of those characters that you want to meet, but not necessarily be friends with. She is self-centered and she is the one taking you on this crazy journey. It does make you wonder how much of a reliable source she can be. Overall, it was a fun read, but I would have liked more character development, specially for the psychiatrist. There were times when I wasn’t sure if the situation presented was social commentary disguised as dark comedy or if it had no intention at all.
You can find the book here: