Author: Weike Wang
Publisher: Random House
Released: January 18, 2022
Joan Is Okay is the latest novel by Weike Wang, and as her Chemistry novel is still stuck in my mind, I wanted to give this one a go. It’s a contemporary fiction novel addressing complicated women.
Joan is an ICU doctor in one of the busiest cities in the world – New York City. She’s struggling to define her idea of a dream and isn’t entirely sure if her current career matches whatever ephemeral definition may come to mind.
Her life is thrown into chaos when every element in her life moves at once. Her father passes away, her mother leaves China for America in hopes of reconnecting with her children, and the pandemic strikes. Any one of these would have spelled a crisis for Joan, but together?
“The surgical ICU had its surgeons and anesthesiologists, doctors who wrote the shortest and most indecipherable notes. The notes reminded me of haikus, and because I wasn’t a literary person, I called my time in this unit difficult poetry.”
Joan Is Okay is a relevant and heavy-hitting novel. One that lends a voice to many people at once. Through Joan, we see the plight of medical personnel around the world. We also see more personal struggles as Joan copes with her life and family changes. It’s so painfully real and beautifully human all at once.
I seem to be in an unintentional streak of reading novels pulling real-world events and elements, such as the pandemic, into their stories. It isn’t surprising that this is happening, given that it is all on our mind and writing/reading is how many people process it. But it did make Joan Is Okay feel heavier at times for this reason.
Joan Is Okay is a book that truly packs a punch. It’s the perfect follow-up for Chemistry, so I highly recommend it to all Weike Wang’s fans – old and new.
Thanks to Random House and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.