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thesilentwhispers

The Silent Whispers

I am trying, yet once again to get back on the blogging wagon. Now that I don't have mandatory readings, I hope to try and share my opinions on books.

Currently reading

The Son of a Certain Woman
Wayne Johnston
Progress: 10/435 pages
The Husband's Secret
Liane Moriarty
Shining
Stephen King
Progress: 165/659 pages
Dracula
Bram Stoker
Progress: 21/387 pages

Review: Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple

 

Erhmigod, it has been so long-- or not. Anyways, I am back here with a book review and before you ask, my dear invisible reader , this is not my uber-secret book. I just happened to pick this book up in the Fast Reads section of the Vancouver Public Library. It was already reviewed by Karate of AdamandKarate and Didi of Frenchiedee. So I decided why not give it a go and here are my opinions.

 

Summary:

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world. (source: the back of the book)

 

What I liked:

 

I liked that the first two thirds of the book are written in mostly epistolary style with emails, letters, reports guiding us through the plot and narrative of the story. I also liked that the book was extremely fast to read and it captured the reader's attention. In fact, I snuck in a few pages during work hours (ssssh! it's our secret). The style really suits the story and adds another dimension to the novel.

 

What I didn't like:

Well, except for Bernadette's unwarranted dislike of Canadians, (is it only me who is tired of Americans making fun of Canadians?), I would say that I didn't like the fact that Semple changes the style of narration from epistolary to first person, limited narration, two thirds into the book. I think the following Goodreads reviewer was right in saying that the change in style was an attempt by Semple to have it all at once. She wants an epistolary style novel yet she also wants a first person narration. However, the novel stands out because of its innovative and witty usage of documents, emails, notes as a form of narration.

The change in narrative styles did not completely ruin the book, though I must admit that the end lost a bit of steam.

 

Rating:

I liked Where'd You Go Bernadette, even though I completely failed to understand the satirical aspects of it (oh, did I forget to mention that? Oups). I just found it under-whelming. After finishing the book, I found that I didn't feel any wow factor-- unlike with the Silver Linings Playbook. I just didn't feel anything in particular. To put it more crudely, I don't care much for this book. It was blaaaaaaah. Maybe it deserves closer to a 2 star rating but I decided to be nice and what not.

 

I would recommend this book to...
anyone looking for an innovative, witty and light take on epistolary novels. Like just for that reason, it is worth it.

 

Ok, that's it from me. You can expect two other reviews soon (one of which will be the super top secret series).

xox. S.