Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Where'd You Go, Bernadette, Maria Semple

This one fit into the 2016 Reading Challenge as a "satire". It's a modern satire of a privileged life.

I listened to this on audio and it was narrated by the actress who plays Luke's sister Liz in Gilmore Girls, so I totally pictured her face the whole time. I thought she did a fabulous job!

This book had a little more swearing than I am normally comfortable with. I don't think I would have noticed it as much if I had read it instead of listened.

Anyhow, many entries are from different points of view. Some chapters are emails from one character to another, some are phone calls, letters, etc. I loved having all these different perspectives of the story. There were a LOT of laugh out loud moments. Such as when Audrey is hosting a brunch for perspective "Mercedes" parents to enroll their soon to be kindergarteners in their particular private K-8 prep school, there is so much rain-because this takes place in Seattle- (and other events that I won't spoil for you) that cause a landslide to crash through her house, breaking windows and everything right in the middle of the current kindergarten class playing a recital on Orff instruments and they are all freaking out. One of the moms who had volunteered to be there for some reason, who also happened to be a psychiatrist, describes the mayhem in an email to the parents of the student body to describe the events and offer assistance if any child shows signs of PTSD, says "If there's one thing kindergarteners know how to do very well, it's to line up!" So many instances like that where I could totally say the next few words exactly as written without even knowing for sure they were written. It's SO true! My youngest is a kinder this year, and boy to those kids know how to do lines! :-) The other thing that I thought was true to form was how much parents were willing to ignore in their children's behavior and blame everyone else and fail to see that their child is the only one responsible for their own poor choices. Or even acknowledge poor choices are being made in the first place. I don't think this kind of attitudes are limited to the affluent, either. I think it's quite rampant on a whole.

Anyhow, Bernadette is a curious person and very misunderstood. She's dealing with a lot, and I don't want to give any away. You do get to have a lot of backstory on her. I loved all the information that explains how she ended up making the choices she did. Her only daughter, Bee, is so like I was- a flute player who was also academic and didn't really care too much about the crowd. She was quite level headed.

This book deals with depression, anxiety, keeping up with the Jones's, workplace relationships, there is some infidelity, adolescent drug use, and lots of things that made me shake my head at, like "That's what people who have a ton of money do with their money? Wow."

One character shows a drastic transformation towards the end, and while it's a very nice thought and absolutely essential to the success of the plot line, seemed abrupt enough that I didn't quite buy it.

Overall, I give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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