Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I struggled with rating this one - it's probably more like a 3.5 for me but I'll bump it down to a 3. I suspect this may be a case of hearing so many people rave about a book which resulted in high expectations that were then let down by the reading of the actual book. In other words, I think I would have liked this one better if I'd never heard how great it was from other bookish people.
Although in many ways this novel is sharp, witty, heartwarming, and entertaining, it was also not nearly as sharp, witting, heartwarming and entertaining as it COULD have been. This felt like a novel that just didn't quite make it to great ... even though it certainly could have. The promise was there but it just didn't quite make it. I so wish that it had ... because I really wanted to love it.
In my opinion, the book cover on this one implies that this is a very different book than it actually is which is kind of a shame. I think it makes the reader think they are going into one thing only to find themselves in a completely different kind of book. I hope that they consider a new cover at some point. (Just to clarify - although I love the cover, I just don't think this was the right cover for this book).
I loved the style of storytelling that Maria Semple uses here - it gave the novel a freshness that I really liked. I enjoyed every moment of reading this novel but it wasn't totally satisfying to me. It was immensely readable but not very impactful. I loved how Seattle and Antarctica were like characters in the novel but the constant negativity about Seattle eventually got annoying to me. I felt myself rolling my eyes a few times while thinking 'OK, I get it ... you aren't a Seattle fan, Bernadette'!
I felt like the story lost steam towards the end of the book. The ending of the novel just didn't feel as strong as the beginning. Perhaps there was a loss of momentum or something? I'm not sure but it was disappointing to me. I probably would have gone to 4 stars if the ending hadn't been so lackluster for me.
But, all in all, it's a really good satire with some interesting quirks! It is definitely getting a lot of love from many of my friends so I think its worth a read, especially if you enjoy satire!
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