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Wide Blue Yonder: A Novel

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  149 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
A National Book Award finalist for her story collection Who Do You Love, Jean Thompson towers into the stratosphere with her new novel, Wide Blue Yonder.

It is the summer of 1999, and something big and bad is coming to Springfield, Illinois, "the place the Weather lived." Wide Blue Yonder is a novel about weather in all its permutations -- climatic, emotional, even metaphys
ebook, 368 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Simon Schuster (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Jul 23, 2011 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eh. I read this after having read and thoroughly enjoyed Jean Thompson's The Year We Left Home. The characters in that novel were very engaging and interesting. One of the characters in Wide Blue Yonder -- Rolando -- freaked me out. I did not like being in his brain. But, that said, hats off to Thompson for writing inside the mind of a crazy, rage-fueled, hopped-up-on-drugs character.

The character of Josie I didn't quite get. She was supposedly an intelligient girl, but she makes some pretty stu
I love her writing. I want to write like her.
These characters are quirky enough to strain credibility. There is something so endearing about the way they stretch toward each other and try ever so hard to see past the crazy.
Dec 28, 2012 Stefan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writer is probably on the way to producing a readable masterpiece!
There are fine lines between humour and horror in Thompson's novel, and a deep thirst for meaning in a superficial world. Below Springfield's sunny surface ("the place the weather lived"), lurks the sense that something ominous is about to happen; God's judgement descending in the form of an earthquake, hurricane or flood. We wait for a climactic event that will eventually force all characters together, not just literally but emotionally. The way Thompson gets into the deeper layers of her chara ...more
Rod Raglin
Jean Thompson approaches "Wide Blue Yonder" the way she has "The Year We Left Home" and "The Humanity Project" with multiple points of view.

There’s Josie, a lovesick teenager girl; her mother Elaine suffering from mid-life crisis; great uncle Harvey, a severe mental breakdown leaving him mentally challenged and obsessed with the Weather Network; and the marginalized Rolando, a misfit, a loner, petty criminal and a blossoming schizophrenic.

The story develops from these disparate personalities,
There was so much to enjoy in this novel. Getting into the minds of not one but two mentally challenged individuals deserves a medal in and of itself. But a teenager? Thompson does even better with Josie. Elaine isn't as clearly defined for me. She's the worried mother, the woman in transition, and while I so get that time of life too well, nothing about her is as remarkable as the other characters.

Yet, of course, do we need anyone else as remarkable? Probably after Harvey, no one else is needed
Nov 16, 2012 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like interesting good writing, especially about women
Recommended to Jane by: Sandra Scofield book, "The Scene Book"
Shelves: read-recently
I enjoyed this book a lot. I liked the connection she made between emotions and weather - although stated right away, it did take me a time to get this. The teen-ager, Josie, was great, especially her sex scenes and thoughts. Very true and very unusual to read the honest truth about sex crazy female teen age characters, although teenage men/boys and their sex fixations are done to death. The mother's concerns about Josie were honest and well-done. This woman, Jean Thompson, is an excellent write ...more
I enjoyed this, with reservations. Four characters trade their points of view in this novel, and the two male characters were both operating in a diminished capacity, but not necessarily believable ones. The story lines didn't come together smoothly, and it wasn't credible, anyway. It did get me to laugh aloud -- once. The female characters, mother and daughter, had depth and were interesting and likeable. I think I'd enjoy Jean Thompson's writing when she wasn't trying so hard. I did like this: ...more
Elizabeth Fagin
May 23, 2011 Elizabeth Fagin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The characters are finely drawn and very compelling. The story of Josie and how she relates to her family - crazy uncle, over-bearing (in her mind) mother, dis-interested dad - all feels very true. This book tells about the struggles a teen age girl goes through as she tries to find her place in the world. It gives us a perspective from other characters as well. I found the character of her mother particularly true. I fell in love with Josie, even while I totally appreciated t ...more
There's some beautiful writing in this, but the characters and plot don't hold together. I like the notion of a dude watching the weather channel obsessively, pretty much in any story, but unfortunately this one is also mentally disabled due to sexual abuse in a thoroughly implausible way. There's a lot of grim negativity in the book, but at the same time, the ending is absolute fairy dust, in the ending to a bad musical way.
Feb 12, 2010 Barbara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Centering around a man who is obsessed with the weather channel and calls himself "Local Forecast," this book explores the territory of fractured families, self-delusion, young love, extreme violence, and other sundry emotional storms while the metaphorical and real weather creates both a setting and emotional tone. Despite the negative themes, there is still humor and some wry hope. I think Thompson writes better short stories than novels, however.
Jun 01, 2014 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This whole book was about weather—actual weather and the symbolic, emotional kind—so you'd think the perfect storm at the climax would not have really taken me by surprise. But it did, because I was too completely absorbed in the interesting plights of the totally believable characters to even think of this as a Novel with a Plot that was Heading Somewhere. This is some seriously great writing.
Jun 16, 2007 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm a weather dork, so I had to pick this up since it's in part, about a guy who watches the weather channel non stop and can tell you the forcast any time. Granted, he's off his rocker. But I can relate anyway. About half way through i did get really hooked as the 4 characters stories started to merge. Enjoyable.
I've had this book for years, and only just now got around to reading it. Enjoyed it thoroughly. Compulsively readable - the characters are decidedly quirky - it shouldn't work, but it does.

Barrelled through all 360 pages in two sittings, so that should tell you something.

I highly recommend it.
Mar 19, 2016 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this although I never felt like the narrative strands quite came together in a way that was believable. Still, I find Thompson fresh and funny and will probably continue to seek out her work.
Aug 17, 2013 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was also picked by me to fulfill a reading challenge for my local library. I enjoyed this one too. The characters were all very interesting and the story had a lot to keep me wondering. I am now interested in reading more by this author.
Jun 25, 2011 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the characters and how the author wove them together. The book was a great read, perhaps a bit of a rush to get to a happy ever after ending, a bit of a disappointing ending for a story filled with human passion, emotion and heart, but well worth the journey.
Oct 19, 2013 DJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. Love this author. Several times wanting to copy out paragraphs for the wisdom and turn of phrase. Story not at all predictable, characters engaging, insight into their mindsets captivating.
May 08, 2009 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised by this book, and how the characters really grew on you. Each had a distinct voice and interesting progression. The novel really picked up momentum as it moved along, making the final 150 pages something I barrelled through in two days
Jun 18, 2015 Marley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 rounded up

This book was a little inconsistent. I almost stopped reading it in the 1st chapter but hung on and was VERY glad I did, about 1/3 of the way through, I LOVED it, and then it tapered off a bit and the end I felt was a bit artificial.
Jan 29, 2013 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reading-group
Really liked the characters in this book; I thought she did a good job getting inside the heads of vastly different personalities.
Jun 05, 2011 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm kind of on a Jean Thompson kick and this one didn't disappoint. Interesting and quirky characters and a well written story. I like the way she puts together a book.
m. soria
really fun book, especially if you're familiar with southern illinois.
Beth Shields-Szostak
Jun 22, 2010 Beth Shields-Szostak marked it as to-read
Shelves: signed
1st edition, signed by author; r.m. short black line bottom edge
Aug 05, 2011 Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely book that I was sorry to finish. A difficult teenage girl, a crazy uncle, a divorced mom who's losing it, and an out-of-control hoodlum collide in this life-affirming story.
Fred Eisenhut
First book I have read by this author. A wonderfully funny and serious novel at the same time. It all takes place in Springfield, Illinois. Even Abe Lincoln figures in the story. Highly recommended.
Toesnorth's mom
crazy characters but good
Oct 30, 2011 Drew rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I couldn't get through this one.

I loved her other books; "The Year We Left Home" and "City Boy" were fabulous.
Denise rated it liked it
Jun 14, 2014
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Jean Thompson is a New York Times bestselling author and her new novel, The Humanity Project will be published by Blue Rider Press on April 23, 2013.

Thompson is also the author of the novel The Year We Left Home, the acclaimed short fiction collections Do Not Deny Me, and Throw Like a Girl as well as the novel City Boy; the short story collection Who Do You Love, and she is a 1999 National Book
More about Jean Thompson...

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