Fab Fiction Thursday #10: Where'd you go, Bernadette?
Often or not, you find a book which you just don't 'click' with. You read it because there is some underlying suspicion within you that it may get better. Its most likely guilt; you've bought the book and its just sitting there, on your desk, almost as if its sitting there limply at the hurtful thoughts that it didn't interest you enough to carry on. Much like a boyfriend who's nothing special but you keep going with the relationship because there is nothing wrong, but there's nothing truly great either. it's just mediocre and overwhelmingly boring, albeit a few comedic scenes that appear far and few between.
"Where'd Do you Go Bernadette" is quite frankly comparable to such a relationship. It's not completely awful, but it's not brilliant either. I felt forced to carry on reading it, otherwise the £7.99 sitting in Waterstones till would be looking up smugly at me, saying 'Ha, I got you'. Great. After reading countless amazing reviews, I was left sorely disappointed yet nonetheless I kept reading it in order to find what is what that I was missing, but that never happened.
Even with most 'time filling' chick flicks, which tend to have an intriguing plot with underlying messages and an abundance of regular, hilarious passages that force genuine laughter from the back of your throat, that was not the case with this book. No, this book remained utterly bland, lacking humour, anecdotes, beautifully written sentences and hidden messages. It's far from thought provoking, and to be honest, made me feel a little 'brain dead'. You could read one sentence a page and still understand the book fully; its full of completely tedious and boring ramblings that have no relevance
I think the main fault of the book was the utter mish mash of various narrations and odd emails at times. I think the book could be easily described as 'clunky' or more precisely, disjointed. There was no clear plot and the book unexpectedly flitted between irrelevant characters that confused the reader, as well as leaving a lot of loose ends.
The main character, Bernadette is ridiculous. She has been labelled 'eccentric'. Hardly. Her character is all over the place, she's flaky, self centred and not in the least mildly interesting. Sure, there is a mystery surrounding her as to why she 'hates' social interaction and what her such 'brilliant' past was. But this never really came to a head, and the explanation was plain awful. She was hard to like, and when you find yourself taking a strong disliking to the protagonist its extremely hard to take a liking to the book.
The truth is, I wanted myself to like this book. I wanted to enjoy the book, to enjoy reading about a "thrilling adventure about creation, destruction...and the maternal bond". The reviews astonish me, as to me they are the complete opposite as to what I feel. I just couldn't get a picture in my mind about what was happening, where it was happening enough to follow the story with interest. It was dull, whiny and petty.
From my perspective, I hated this book. It was a chore to read and although the ending perked up a little, it was overwhelmingly simplistic and dull. I don't think I'll be reading any more works by Maria Semple. but perhaps this was simply a one off. Who knows? I certainly know that this book was not for me.
Have you read 'Where'd you go, Bernadette?'? Did you enjoy it? Or do you agree with me?