12.12.2012

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple


It's been a few weeks since I finished this. Actually, more like a month. After reading a handful of good things about this book I decided to give it a go. I'm generally not a fan of epistolary novels, but this one sounded different. The relationship I had with this book was a good one; I finished it in two days because it was just that pleasurable to read. This is not a book to be read in short spurts but rather consumed all at once. I don’t have anything profound to say about it, except that I enjoyed it immensely. Bernadette is certainly one of the more memorable characters I’ve read this year. She has her flaws but is completely likeable at the same time. The novel as a whole is funny, sharp-witted, and immensely readable.

More relevant was the cover sheet, which set forth the psychological profile of candidates best suited to withstand the extreme conditions at the South Pole. They are “individuals with blasé attitudes and antisocial tendencies,” and people who “feel comfortable spending lots of time alone in small rooms,” “don’t feel the need to get outside and exercise,” and the kicker, “can go long stretches without showering.

For the past twenty years I’ve been in training for overwintering at the South Pole! I knew I was up to something.

I was actually sad when this book ended because I enjoyed it so much. If you’re looking for a novel that you just might fall in love with, give Semple’s book a try. It’s a gem. And just right. 

15 comments:

  1. Exactly! I read this a few weeks ago, too, and keep procrastinating writing my review because I don't have much to say. The book was great. Your review is perfect.

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    1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it too! I was a little worried about my review because I didn't say much about the novel itself, more about my reaction to it. I just figured there have been enough reviews out there that give a synopsis I could just skip that part :)

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  2. Just down loaded the audio version to my iPodd - wonder how that will be?

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  3. I really want to read this. I also want Mr. Penumbra, which I see you're reading too. So many good books have come out this fall!

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    1. So many good ones! I feel like the best ones always come out in fall rather than spring. Or is that just me?

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  4. I just added this one to the list and will be reviewing it for an online magazine in the coming weeks. I got that from the synopsis and other reviews that Bernadette was a unique character and good for discussion. Is it more of a fluff read, or will I have a lot to discuss? I guess I could just wait and read for myself, but thought I'd ask.

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    1. I think you'll have a lot to discuss. Bernadette is definitely a complex character. I read that when Semple started writing the book she first did it from the POV of Bernadette, but found that the voice was too whiny and depressed (not the exact words but I can't remember exactly how she put it). So instead she offered the view points of those around her and felt like it made the novel a little more lighthearted and funny than it would have been otherwise. It almost feels like a fluff read because it can be read really fast, but there is still that literary feel to it.

      I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts! Which online magazine are you contributing to?

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    2. Ok, that sounds perfect. I'm looking forward to it. I'll be writing book reviews for Sadie Magazine starting January. I'm pretty excited to start!

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  5. I've seen this one all over the place but for some reason I haven't gotten around to reading it. Thanks for the reminder and the inspiration to get to it! :D

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  6. I'm glad you reviewed this one. I keep seeing it pop up on Best of 2012 lists and I've been curious about it.

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  7. I know what you mean, for me epistolary novels are so hard to get through, yet everyone kept talking about this book and sounded like so much fun. I definitely agree about being sad when it ended, it was such a perfect read for me!

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  8. Olá meu querido amigo, e eu estava lendo o seu site, eu só quero dizer que eu realmente amo isso! A aparência geral do seu site é fantástico, assim como o conteúdo! Parabéns por seu trabalho incrível! Eu sigo seu blog (306) ... Espero que você siga-me de volta .... Desejo-lhe felicidade e alegria ... e bênçãos para o Ano Novo. Desejo-lhe o melhor de tudo ... Que você tão bem merece.
    Saudações do Rio de Janeiro / Brasil
    Nelson

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  9. I keep hearing great things about this book, so I'll definitely put it on my TBR list.

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