Our discussion of Where’d You Go Bernadette was shorter than usual. Several people had been initially turned off by the epistolary format, but many had been hooked by the laugh-out-loud scene descriptions. Without looking at the discussion questions, we naturally covered many of them. It seemed for most to be an enjoyable read with some sharp insights into character and a fascinating description of Bernadette’s art – the Twenty Mile House.
But what was the point? I was most taken by that question. A couple of members drew a comparison with Carl Hiaasen. But is this book satire? Caricature? Realism? Bernadette was over the top in general, but we all agreed that she had been severely depressed since her loss of the Twenty Mile House, untreated, and self-absorbed. We agreed that she had a close relationship with Bee, but we were divided on her relationship with Elgin. Was it salvageable? How much of everything that happened is simply a plot device?
We discussed the different characters and agreed that the story was being told by Bee because she was the most likeable and steady. We laughed at various scenes and looked for parallels in other books. We all liked the virtual assistant – even if it was a member of the Russian Mafia! And to my surprise, no one seemed interested in Antarctica!
A pleasant read and a pleasant discussion! Our next book will be Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I read aloud an excerpt from a lecture he gave in 2013 about the importance of libraries and the value of Science Fiction in opening doors to possibilities. His story may be different than those we’ve read before. We’ll meet next month and know.
- Other works discussed:
- Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen
- Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain
- The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion