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Heading Out to Wonderful
An exciting, erotically charged, and altogether unforgettable story of love...
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Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

Created: 03/18/12

Replies: 35

Posted Mar. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
BookBrowse

Join Date: 11/16/10

Posts: 44

Overall, what do you think of "Heading Out to Wonderland"?

Overall, what do you think of "Heading Out to Wonderland"?


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
nanette s

Join Date: 05/06/12

Posts: 12

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I really enjoyed the book. It was a strong and powerful, yet understated story for me. The story moved along at a leisurely pace , like a small town might move at a slower pace, and yet kept me intrigued enough to keep wanting to turn the pages to see what would develop between Charlie and Sylvan, and how it would all turn out. I had read that the author had written this story from a true story he had heard about shortly after college. After finishing this book, I couldn't believe how things did turn out for the both of them, as well as the rest of the town, and couldn't believe that something like this had happened before. I must admit, I didn't see the ending coming, it was a total shock and not one I was expecting.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kathym

Join Date: 09/14/11

Posts: 12

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I loved it. I had read his previous novel and so I was expecting something on the darker side. I thought it was a fascinating story and the suspense just kept on building. You just were waiting for something terrible to happen.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
texanne

Join Date: 04/25/11

Posts: 7

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I liked it a lot. I especially liked the attention to place/setting and atmosphere of the story.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
pennyp

Join Date: 03/22/12

Posts: 125

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I liked it a lot. I will recommend it to my book club. I thought it was well written, well paced and interesting.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
bessw

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 7

RE: Overall, what do you think of

Heading Out to Wonderful was definitely WONDERFUL.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terri

Join Date: 04/11/12

Posts: 102

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I very much liked it. It was an interesting story and a unique story, and it was well written with lots of emotion. I could understand the feelings the author was portraying. I am glad I was given a chance to read this book. I am also in a book club, and it willbe one of my recommendations.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joans

Join Date: 06/30/11

Posts: 4

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I thought it was very well written. It was so evocative of the time and place. You knew that something bad would happen, yet you hoped not and that kept the pages turning. There were a couple of mysteries never solved. Where did Charlie get all his money? I had the impression it was from something not quite honest.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
poornimaa

Join Date: 05/16/12

Posts: 37

RE: Overall, what do you think of

Joan, that's a good point! I was so into Boaty's money that I didn't wonder about Charlie's! He does say he was a butcher before but I am not sure that's enough to throw money around like the way he does later... Hmmm. :)


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Lea Ann

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 68

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I was entranced by the book. I enjoyed the "mystery" of Charlie.....from where did he come, why, where did he get the suitcase of money? So many questions about him. But, then those questions didn't seem so important as the story unfolded and we became acquainted with Sam, his parents, and with Sylvan. I must say that the book took a turn I didn't expect with an ending that took me by surprise. I have already recommended this book to several people.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
betht

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 5

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I think it's an amazing book that I will recommend to others. Atmospheric, beautifully written, haunting -- characters I cared about and have continued to think about after I finished the book. It certainly covered all the emotional bases for me - I laughed out loud, was outraged, frightened, surprised, horrified, sad, relieved -- yet at the same time Goolrick didn't wrap EVERYTHING up so I was left wondering (as Lea Ann said so well) about the "mystery" of Charlie. Where DID he get all that money? Great book. Loved reading it.


Posted Jun. 18, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Christie

Join Date: 04/18/12

Posts: 12

RE: Overall, what do you think of

I thought it was a great story of a boy and what he endures in his young life. Robert Goolrick's style of writing draws the reader in slowly, and then unusual circumstances develop... which make his novels unique . The same twists and turns happen in Goolrick's A Reliable Wife. I loved the protagonist (Charlie) and the way he cared for the boy and the girl. It was a remarkable story.


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 68

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RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

You'd never know from the title - even the use of it in the introduction - that this book is a classic tragedy. Even though much of the end is foreshadowed in the book, the specifics of it are still a surprise. The story is well constructed; the characters are compelling, and the pacing fits beautifully with the setting. I thought it ws a terrific book and will recommend it to others.


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
lynneb

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 47

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I loved reading the author's lyrical descriptions and as others mention the novel really brings a place and time to life which makes it somewhat historical fiction, my favorite genre. There is of course an element of mystery and suspense throughout although the plot moves along slowly. I see this described most as a tragic love story. The cultural elements such as the religious fervor and discrimination of blacks seems very real and historically accurate.


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 55

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RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I couldn't put the book down especially since, according to the author himself, the events are true based upon a story he was told when he was visiting in another country. He has written a novel with a universal theme, one that shows characters whose actions lead to their own destruction and to the destruction of others. Yes, it is a love story, a story of love gone terribly wrong. The author gives us signs of an ominous ending from the very beginning when Charlie walks into town with his set of personal butcher knives and is "heading out to wonderful." The author has a way with words, a key to character development, and the means for weaving an unforgettable, intriguing story.


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jeffs

Join Date: 06/18/12

Posts: 47

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I thought the book was very good, exceptionally well written. It did move at a slow pace, but it was kind of like a baseball game, if you stick with it, the suspense builds and gets more exciting with every page. The ending was very surprising to me, though i did suspect something bad was going to happen. I really liked the character of Charlie, he was a likeable and extremely interesting person. I was glad to read that the author is planning to write a prequel to explain where Charlie got the money. I'd been wondering about the mysterious suitcases.


Posted Jun. 19, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sgh

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 6

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

i really liked the story ... wonderful characters. i cared about them. i particularly liked the relationship between charlie and sam. i intend to recommend the book to my book club


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sharalynnep

Join Date: 12/04/11

Posts: 33

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I really enjoyed this book. I am definitely going to recommend it to my book club. While reading it I was curious to know more about Charlie's history, not only the money issue but his personal history as well. If the author writes a sequel to this book count me in.


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sallyd

Join Date: 09/15/11

Posts: 11

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

Robert Goolrick is a very unique writer. After reading his first book, I think I would have recognized his style even if I hadn't known. I like this book better that the first. The characters were more appealing and I could relate to some of their actions. He always seems to bring out some very dark sides in human beings which is painful and uncomfortable at times but I still am captivated by his stories.


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
sallyd

Join Date: 09/15/11

Posts: 11

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

Robert Goolrick is a very unique writer. After reading his first book, I think I would have recognized his style even if I hadn't known. I like this book better that the first. The characters were more appealing and I could relate to some of their actions. He always seems to bring out some very dark sides in human beings which is painful and uncomfortable at times but I still am captivated by his stories.


Posted Jun. 20, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
tomarieb

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 1

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

The gentleness of the characters follow the gentleness of the writing. I enjoyed it but it broke my heart.


Posted Jun. 21, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Hulananni

Join Date: 06/13/11

Posts: 25

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

My problem with the discussions of books is that I read the book as soon as it arrives...put it on a shelf...and forget the story (a bad habit of mine) so when it's time to discuss....I don't remember what I liked or disliked. Picking it up and thumbing through it I remember enjoying it but not enough to want to re-read it. I'll pick it up again and see if I can offer more specific insights into how I felt about it.


Posted Jun. 24, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terri

Join Date: 04/11/12

Posts: 102

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I thought this was a very good book club book. It had many elements to it that can lead to an interesting discussion.


Posted Jun. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianes

Join Date: 05/16/11

Posts: 55

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I loved it. Living in a relatively small town I rally appreciated his descriptions of the people and the place. Of course things were much different back than but much about a small town remains the same.


Posted Jun. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
vivianh

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 7

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

Interestingly, I read the book just after spending a long weekend in that part of rural Virginia - where even today there is no cell phone signal! The physical beauty of the location is impossible to describe. But, I could still see the rural Virginia these characters would have inhabited - rural, separate from the rest of the population, insulated, lost in time.

Goolrick writes beautiful melodic prose that drew me into the narrative. I knew it would be a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions just by the title. Everybody was damaged. But, it was a lyrical book that I am glad I read.


Posted Jun. 26, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
laurieh

Join Date: 04/04/12

Posts: 8

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I was looking forward to another book after The Reliable Wife and this book did not disappoint!! This is a different kind of read for me as I usually like quick and witty dialog. It was as enjoyable as the first and I'm glad I was involved in this book discussion.


Posted Jun. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
kLorene17

Join Date: 12/04/11

Posts: 5

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

It is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I love the way Goolrick writes, it's so evocative. My heart actually hurt after reading some of the scenes...the characters and their emotions just glow from the pages...and being a Southerner myself, I could totally sense the gothic nature he was describing. And the sense of, for lack of a better word, anticipation...you could feel the train wreck approaching and it was painful.


Posted Jun. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
terriej

Join Date: 07/28/11

Posts: 98

Expert

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I really enjoyed this book. I was not expecting the ending. It built up to the end throughout the book, making you love the characters as it went along. The book has many unexpected twists.


Posted Jun. 27, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
julieg

Join Date: 06/27/12

Posts: 4

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I really enjoyed the book. I like Goolrick's writing style (I also really liked A Reliable Wife), and he created truly believable characters. I was never able to anticipate what would happen, and because the story moved along very quietly the shocking events were totally unexpected.


Posted Jun. 28, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dorisk

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 14

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I thought it was a great book. I will recommend it to my book club. The descriptions of the people and the natural settings of the area were "wonderful." I am familiar with small town life even if mine is in the northern part of the U.S. people are the same and they are described very well in this book.


Posted Jun. 29, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
laureens

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 5

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I enjoyed the book a lot. The characters and setting were well developed, yet there was still some mystery left open about Charlie. Where did he get he's money, what exactly happened to him in the War, etc. There was always this balance between something bad happening and everything working out happily ever after.


Posted Jul. 13, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
johnw

Join Date: 03/11/12

Posts: 22

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

Loved the book! I thought the pace of the book reflected the pace of life in the town and period. The story was exceptionally well written. I really enjoyed Charlie, he was a likeable and extremely interesting person. I can't wait to read the prequel that explains where Charlie got the money.


Posted Jul. 14, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
CoventryReader

Join Date: 08/04/11

Posts: 22

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I thought it was a very powerful story. I felt so sorry for Sam, with Charlie involving him in the afraire he was having with sylvan. At first I liked Charlie as a character, but as he began to be obsessed by Sylvan, I felt my feelings for him change. He put that poor little boy through hell. And he said he loved him. If he really loved him, he would have spared him from keeping that horrible secret. I did like the book;I couldn't put it down, once I started reading it. But it was truly a sad story.


Posted Jul. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Lea Ann

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 68

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RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I've posted here before that I very much enjoyed this book and have loaned it to a friend. The friend e-mailed me to let me know how much she like it also, so we have two yes votes. Because I enjoyed this book so much, I went back and read A Reliable Wife. I must admit that i didn't particularly care for that one and am glad that I didn't read it before Heading Out to Wonderful. I believe Goolrick's writing improved a lot between his first and second books. He is making a personal appearance in Seattle this Tuesday evening. Oh, how I'd love to be in his audience, but being of a certain age and limping a lot, I guess I won't be able to go, but I shall be there in spirit. I'm sure he will have a large and enthusiastic audience.


Posted Aug. 22, 2012 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
judyg

Join Date: 04/20/11

Posts: 3

RE: Overall, what do you think of Heading Out to Wonderful?

I loved it! My experience may partially be due to listening to the audio book version. The narrator, Norman Dietz, did an over-the-top outstanding job of describing what was going on in the boy's mind during critical scenes in the book. It was as if I was there watching the boy. Characters were lovingly developed and clear as a bell to the reader. Highly recommend.


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