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helenliz

helenliz

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple hmm. let's get the bad bits over first - credibility is a bit like an elastic band - it can be stretched, but at some point it goes "ping" and you get hit on the nose. That's what happens here. I could accept most of what happened right up until the last section where Bee and her Dad crept of a cruise ship in the Antarctic ocean and snuck aboard a Zodiac and found Bernadette hiding out on a station in the Antarctic, where she'd been for 6 weeks. yeah, right. and that was where the elastic band went snap and I lost patience with this.Bernadette was a promising architect, but has personality issues (to put it mildly) she's rude and unpleasant to the other parents at the school, is self centered and has turned herself into a bit of a martyr for her only child, Bee. Poor Bee has a most ridiculous name and was born with a heart defect, so spent most of her first 5 years on hospital. I appreciate this can give parents a tendency to treat her as if she were made of glass, but children are robust little things and Bee makes it perfectly clear that she's not sick any more and shows every sign of wanting to grow up a normal child. Elgie (honestly) is a techie nerd who's high up in Microsoft and creating though control chips. He also is not the most rounded person you've ever met in your life and it seems that he's taken to working instead of talking to his wife. I'm sure it happens, but he goes from not seeming to care to trying to get her sectioned in 2 chapters.Their story is told by way of e-mails, letters, faxes and additional information from Bee herself. I'm not sure it really works, as it very fragmentary, some of the messages running to only a few lines before the font changes for the next message/letter/fax etc. The font may change, but the character of those writing them also seem to undergo a seismic shift as the various crisis come and go. The neighbour has a sudden crisis of conscience and turns from devil incarnate to angel in one paragraph. Actually the change is probably partly her but also in how she's perceived. But, I'm sorry, I didn't really buy it. It's an engaging story in principle, how well do we really know anyone, especially our parents. And I don't envy Bee being the child of two such gifted people - that's got to be a poisoned chalice if ever there was one. But the escape was, frankly, too far fetched and I didn't feel the ending necessarily held true to the rest of the book - it certainly leaves a significant number of unresolved issues back home which are brushed under the carpet. Didn't come into this with high expectations, but the execution was, I felt, insufficient to carry the story through.