BookBrowse Reviews Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Wickett's Remedy

A Novel

by Myla Goldberg

Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg X
Wickett's Remedy by Myla Goldberg
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Sep 2005, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2006, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A novel that beautifully combines the intimate and the epic

From the book jacket: In a multidimensional, intricately wrought narrative, Myla Goldberg leads us back to Boston in the early part of the twentieth century and into two completely captivating worlds. One is that of Lydia, an Irish American shopgirl with bigger aspirations than your average young woman from South Boston. She seems to be well on her way to the life she has dreamed of when she marries Henry Wickett, a shy medical student and the scion of a Boston Brahmin family. However, soon after their wedding, Henry abruptly quits medical school to create a mail-order patent medicine called Wickett's Remedy, and just as Lydia begins to adjust to her husband's new vocation, the infamous Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918 begins its deadly sweep across the world, irrevocably changing their lives.

In a world turned almost unrecognizable by swift and sudden tragedy, Lydia finds herself working as a nurse in an experimental ward dedicated to understanding the raging epidemic—through the use of human subjects. Meanwhile, a parallel narrative explores the world of QD Soda, the illegitimate offspring of Wickett's Remedy, stolen away by Henry Wickett's one-time business partner Quentin Driscoll, who goes about transforming it into a soft drink empire.

Comment: Usually the typesetting of the paperback edition is essentially the same as the hardcover edition.  However, because of the unusual format of Wickett's Remedy (with side notes in the margins of many pages) the paperback version had to be re-typeset; this gave Goldberg the opportunity to substantially rewrite parts of her novel. 

According to the author "The spirit of the book and its story remain unchanged, but certain threads are developed a little further. Scenes that had been implied in the hardcover edition are made explicit in the paperback; other scenes that had been curtailed are extended. The revised material deepens Lydia’s experience on Gallups Island, as well as her relationships with Percival Cole and Frank Bentley."

These changes are likely to have gone a long way to correcting some of the weak points that a few reviewers pointed out in the hardcover version.  For example, Publishers Weekly wrote “as well-researched, polished and poignant as the book is, Goldberg never quite locks in her characters’ mindsets, and sometimes seems adrift amid period detritus. While readers will admire Lydia, they may not feel they ever truly know her.”

Both the author and her publicist deny that the changes were a tactic to sell more books, although her publicist does admit that it gives the book "a nice publicity hook".   In a recent interview Goldberg said, "I feel terrible for hardcover readers. They’re your most loyal readers, and here I am penalizing them. The last thing I want to do is make hardcover readers feel like suckers. It’s not a gimmick to sell more books!"  For more about the changes visit Goldberg's website, where you can download a PDF document of the edited sections. 

"Starred Review. A rich historical re-creation whose energy and ingenuity evoke memories of EL Doctorow's classic Ragtime, Stephen Milhauser's Pulitzer Prize winner Martin Dressler and Thomas McMahon's forgotten picturesque mini masterpiece McKay's Bees A fine novel...and a quantum leap forward for the gifted Goldberg." - Kirkus Reviews (referring to the hardcover, so presumably the reviewer would like the paperback even more!)

This review was originally published in September 2005, and has been updated for the October 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Story of Arthur Truluv
    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg
    Elizabeth Berg's heartwarming novel scored an an impressive 4.4 average rating from the 48 members ...
  • Book Jacket: The Last Ballad
    The Last Ballad
    by Wiley Cash
    Ella May WigginsA hundred years ago or so, farming land west of Charlotte, North Carolina was given over to giant ...
  • Book Jacket: Future Home of the Living God
    Future Home of the Living God
    by Louise Erdrich
    Louise Erdrich began Future Home of the Living God in 2002, set it aside, and picked it up again in ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

At once a love story, a history lesson and a beautifully written tale of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

They say that in the end truth will triumph, but it's a lie.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E Dog H I D

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.