Rita’s Reading: “State of Wonder”

State of WonderThis is the first book I’ve read by Ann Patchett, noted author of the acclaimed novel, Bel Canto. There are so many ways that this book can capture the reader’s interest, it blends mystery and suspense with science, romance, and more. For me, the two women protagonists, both brilliant doctors and medical researchers were fascinating, complex characters whose relationship with each other as mentor and student, and their connection to two powerful men in their lives, made this a compelling page turner. Set in the Amazon, the novel details a search to find a missing scientist, and centers on the search for drugs from rain forest plants that not only can heal but potentially create profound social upheaval. Patchett draws the reader into pondering the role of science and how scientific curiosity, corporate greed and the desire (of some) to do good for others, culminates in a provocative question, of particular relevance for women. To avoid being a spoiler, I won’t say more. I thoroughly enjoyed this thoughtful, entertaining book.