Have you ever read a book that you don't really like but you can't stop reading? That was my experience with State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.
It's not a bad story line except that it's kind of ridiculous. The main character is Dr. Marina Singh, a pharmacologist. She's also having an affair with her boss who she always refers to as "Mr." while expecting him to propose marriage. Really? Dr. Singh is incredibly naive and inexperienced and yet this is the character that is sent off to the Amazon.
I can deal with naive characters but I can't abide naive characters doing things that are so far out of their character's wheelhouse. I get that it's fiction and that most fiction is unbelievable but the great author makes the unbelievable believable. That doesn't happen with this book.
However, I can't totally pan it. I really was drawn in to the basic story and had to stick with it to the end. I was still happy that it ended though.
The narrator, Hope Davis, did a really nice job narrating the book.
Here's the publisher's summary:
Research scientist Dr. Marina Singh is sent to Brazil to track down her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, who seems to have disappeared in the Amazon while working on an extremely valuable new drug. The last person who was sent to find her died before he could complete his mission. Plagued by trepidation, Marina embarks on an odyssey into the insect-infested jungle in hopes of finding answers to the questions about her friend's death, her company's future, and her own past.
Once found, Dr. Swenson is as imperious and uncompromising as ever. But while she is as threatening as anything the jungle has to offer, the greatest sacrifices to be made are the ones Dr. Swenson asks of herself, and will ultimately ask of Marina.
State of Wonder is a world unto itself, where unlikely beauty stands beside unimaginable loss. It is a tale that leads the listener into the very heart of darkness, and then shows us what lies on the other side.