Read what people think about Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick, and write your own review.

Summary | Discuss | Reviews | More Information | More Books

Heading Out to Wonderful

A Novel

by Robert Goolrick

Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick X
Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jun 2012
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this book


Page 1 of 2
There are currently 11 reader reviews for Heading Out to Wonderful
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!


Heading Out to Wonderful
Loved this book. Characters are well drawn and very believable. Story line departs from the usual and kept this reader wanting more.

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.

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.
Power Reviewer
Diane S.

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.
Christie Keele

Heading Out to Wonderful
I read Robert Goolrick's new book, Heading Out to Wonderful, in two days. While this isn't unusual for me, I found I couldn't put this particular book down. Just as in A Reliable Wife, this novel exhibits a compelling plot with clever, heartfelt characters. Goolrick is quickly becoming a master in creating a uniquely different that has plot twists and turns, and one that has unique, insightful characters that speak of humanity and offers insight into the human condition. Goolrick's characters offer both sides of a person, drawing us into their personal motives, and at the same time, creating compassion for them. But not all the characters in this story are good, which lends excitement to the plot, and gives further insight into how people deal with decisions of the heart, and in this case, maybe life and death. I loved this story. Charles is a good fellow to love, and you'll be drawn in by Sam, the little boy who is most affected by the character's actions. Goolrick is talented in creating a setting that draws the reader in, makes you feel as if you're there, a part of it. I applaud Goolrick's style, his rich language, honest depictions, and the twists he lends his stories. Loved the surprises! As they say, this is a "must read!"

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.

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.

Heading Out to Wonderful...
... is an engrossing story set in a small Virginia town shortly after the war. Charlie, an attractive stranger, comes to town looking for work and is soon employed by the local butcher. Oddly, Charlie develops an intense friendship with Sam Haislett a 5 year old who finds Charlie a more comfortable confidant and teacher than his parents. The two are virtually inseparable and ultimately Charlie's decisions have a huge impact on Sam's life.

The book has some of the most colorful characters and vivid descriptions of place that I can remember reading in recent past. Goolrick has created two female characters who share a passionate interest in fashion and I can't help but wonder how it was for him to write those sections describing fabric, color and style.

Some of the turns in the action are predictable but many were not, at least for me. As we expect Charlie to make some decisions that will put him in the path of danger, we surely don't foresee the finale.

This one was even better than A Reliable Wife but if you haven't read it, do so by all means.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2

More Information


Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Word Is Murder
    The Word Is Murder
    by Anthony Horowitz
    A wealthy widow enters a London funeral home to make arrangements for her own funeral. Six hours ...
  • Book Jacket: Call Me American
    Call Me American
    by Abdi Nor Iftin
    As a boy growing up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin loved watching action ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...
  • Book Jacket
    Driving Miss Norma
    by Ramie Liddle, Tim Bauerschmidt
    In my cultural life, I've met and been awed by two Normas: The demanding, clueless, fiercely ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Salt Houses by Hala Alyan

From a dazzling new literary voice, a debut novel about a Palestinian family caught between present and past.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    A Place for Us
    by Fatima Farheen Mirza

    A deeply moving story of love, identity and belonging--the first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker's new imprint.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win If You See Me, Don't Say Hi

If You See Me, Don't Say Hi by Neel Patel

Patel's stories introduce a bold and timely new literary voice.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

A P Saved I A P E

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & 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.