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Heading Out to Wonderful

A Novel

By Robert Goolrick

Heading Out to Wonderful
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2012,
    304 pages.

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There are currently 10 reader reviews for Heading Out to Wonderful
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Shelly (05/20/13)

Heading Out To Wonderful
I could not put this book down. I read it in just a few days. I read A Reliable Wife, and was happy to read this second book. I knew Goolrick writes dark, gothic kind of books, so I was prepared for the same in this book. I knew it would not be a good ending. But, I was unprepared for it nonetheless. Although I should have seen it coming.

I was drawn into the characters and their many flaws. Charlie, where did he get his money? Sylvan, drawn into her dreams of Hollywood. Of course, I felt very badly for Sam. He was the most damaged by it all. I was very upset with Charlie.

Overall, I loved the book. I would recommend it and may use it for my book club.
Dorothy L (08/04/12)

A Disappointing Read
The author's first novel, A Reliable Wife, was an intriguing read. I eagerly awaited the second book by this author. Heading out to Wonderful is not the book expected. Although well written, there are many unrealistic aspects to the plot and character portrayal. Sam's character, a pivotal part of the story, was far too precocious. I could not believe in his point of view as a five year old. The characters of Sylvan and Boaty were superficially drawn. I did get a good sense of the setting which is integral to the plot. But the ending was too abrupt and unrealistic. Although I wanted to like this book, I but ultimately I found it a disappointing read.
Mary (07/19/12)

Heading Out to Wonderful
I read A Reliable Wife (by this author) some time ago and I have been eagerly awaiting this new book. Often the "next" book does not come intrigue me quite as much as the first, but this was an exception. The beautiful, flawless use of language is the same. The setting powerfully ( a small country town) defines the characters and moves the plot forward. And there is also a wife in this book who is also unreliable. She came from way out in the country where "children had never met anyone who was not related to them,and was bought by the richest man in town, to be his wife. A dark love story unfolds after she meets Charlie Beale, the town butcher, and this book kept me turning every page. I was not prepared for the ending and I slept with the light on after I closed the book.
lorraine (06/07/12)

Heading out to Wonderful?
I gave Robert Goolrick's second novel a 4 rating because I think his writing is fluid and detailed. However, I was not satisfied with his treatment of women characters. Sylvan in particular was shallow and easily manipulated by men. She seemed to be interested only in appearances and was unable to love anyone, including herself. It was hard to imagine her character as a real person. Charlie and Sylvan's relationship seemed based primarily on sexual satisfaction. I really hated the way Charlie abused his relationship with Sam, exposing him to his tawdry affair with Sylvan. The ending was dark, shocking and just a little unbelievable. As in his first novel, Goolrick seems obsessed with female characters who are manipulative and false and their lovers/husbands who become obsessed with them.
SharalynneP (06/01/12)

Heading Out To Wonderful
I read this book in two days because I could not put it down. I loved the story especially since it didn't turn out the way I expected it would. My one negative comment is that I kept waiting to learn more about where Charlie came from, more of his past history. That being said, I really did enjoy this book and would recommend it.
AnnieH (05/29/12)

Would We Know Wonderful If We Were in the Middle of It?
Having recently driven back and forth on I-64 and I-95 in Virginia I knew this landscape like the back of my hand. There are many areas along these highways that have not changed much since the Civil War and it was easy to be immersed in the geography of this tale. And a tale it is, one you might hear yourself as it gets handed down from one generation to the next. The location becomes a separate character and has its impact on the people of this town and those who come to live in Brownsburg.

What came to my mind was the ever present desire for some men and women to want more than their present contentment and how impossible that is to suppress as grass growing up through concrete. What that search for more means and how it affects a townful is the story told here.
Diane S. (05/29/12)

Heading out to wonderful
As I started reading this novel I kept picturing the black and white movies I used to watch with my grandfather, the ones starring Bette Davis or June Allyson because that is the feeling and the tone that this novel sets. It opens with a chapter narrated by an man in his sixties, telling the story of what happened in this town when he was a young boy of 5 and 6. So we know from the beginning that this is not going to be a happy little novel. I was not a big fan of Goolrick's last novel but I absolutely loved this one. The prose and the descriptions are wonderfully elegant, the townspeople for the most part likable and at the same times complex. . The time period of the forties and the wholesome goodness and innocence of that time are all wonderfully related. Charlie himself, could have been any drifter albeit one with quite a bit of money, looking for a town to call his own. The tragedy, from this man's telling was such a downfall, and totally shocking to this reader, such a shame. Really did not see it coming. So many things are touched on here, black and white relations, religion, moral standards and yes an all consuming love. To be honest I will probably go back and read it again just to see what I missed and try to figure out exactly why it happened. Thought provoking novel of a time gone by and one that will engender many discussions.
Hulananni (05/26/12)

Missing characters
I more often than not read a book in a day or two. This one was no exception because I needed to know the ending.

Why I gave it a poor rating is that I found the absence of Boaty throughout much of the story puzzling. In my opinion he was a major factor in the dynamics of the people involved yet he was submerged for much of the book.

I really didn't like the italicized sections that appeared throughout the narrative. For me they were a distraction and I found myself skimming in the literal sense of the word. Perhaps I missed things I should have attended to. I didn't have the patience.

Perhaps I should read another of the author's books.
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