Last year I read and LOVED «Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine» by Gail Honeyman. It was by far one of the best books I read in a very long time. And so I went googling. Searching for as many books as possible that would have similar to Eleanor characters. One book that kept coming up in almost every post was «Where’d You Go Bernadette» by Maria Semple.
And based on the fact that (1) it is similar to my other favorite, (2) has an appealing cover and (3) a movie starring Cate Blanchett is coming out in August 2019, I’ve decided to purchase it with high hopes for another favorite.
Imagine all of this excitement that was completely crushed after the first 50 pages of the book!
Bernadette Fox has vanished.
When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades.
«Where’d You Go, Bernadette» is a compilation of files, e-mails, and correspondence put together by Bee, 15-year-old, whose mother, Bernadette Fox, is gone missing.
We start reading the story from the very beginning, way before the disappearance of Bernadette, trying to unfold what actually happened.
I’m so thankful that the book is barely over 300 pages long, otherwise, I would never have found the strength to finish it! I don’t regret picking it up, but it was nothing that I expected it to be, and I honestly, don’t have any idea how people could compare Bernadette to Eleanor?!
- She loves to rant. Especially in her long e-mails to her Indian assistant Majula. However, this is the only person she was willing to speak to throughout the whole book. I had to skip pages of annoying, whiny rants because all I could see was: “Seattle is bad. School moms are bad. People are bad.”
- She loves to complain. Once again about Seattle, about other moms, and it goes on forever.
And when the Bernadette complains are over, we start reading complaints from Elgie, Bernadette’s husband, and Audrey, their neighbor, and Soo-Lin, one of the school moms and the most inconvenient person in the entire world.
Maybe the only one that didn’t complain as much was Bee, but only because her paragraphs were so scarce that I barely got to know her.
I’ve completely skipped pages 156 to 162 of Elgie’s TED talk transcript, because at that point I just wanted for Bernadette to finally go missing, see what happened at the end, close the book and hide it in the depth of my bookshelf!
The actual disappearance happened at 2/3s of the book. At that point I didn’t care about any of the characters, skipping through sentences and paragraphs, just to get to the end, and not give in to the growing desire to DNF the book. Just because I actually managed to read the entire thing, I gave it two stars.
Could you see that I really didn’t like this book?
But! I still would love to watch the movie. The trailer looks promising. Cate Blanchette can make any character interesting, and depending on how they present the plot in the film, it might be one of those cases when the movie is actually better than the book.
What did you think of Bernadette? Did you like the book or the movie? Let me know in the comments below!