Monday, October 15, 2012

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.....

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is one of those books that I want to write a review of REALLY FAST, before I stumble on a REAL review of it and find out I'm not as smart as I thought I was. That's the reason I never, never, never, never (at least not on purpose) read book reviews BEFORE I read the book. I'm too easily influenced (which must explain the reason I found myself in a bar in a college town long before I had reached the legal drinking age of 18), and I don't want my opinion of a book to be colored by someone else's opinion, even if that person is way smarter than I am and has ten more degrees than I do. (Pity the fool, as Mr. T would say.)

Keep in mind that I don't write official, literary book reviews. I don't go into too much detail about the plot because I don't want to give anything away, and I don't attempt any in-depth analysis of characters or literary worth. I just tell whether or not I liked it.

I liked it.

I liked it a lot.

This book was a quirky little thing, and I'm surprised that I liked it because I don't usually DO quirky. Well, I DO quirky, which is the main reason I don't appreciate it when anyone ELSE does quirky.

(What is UP with all these all-caps words? And the parenthetical comments? Puh-lease!)

The book is told through a series of emails, faxes, memos, handwritten notes (which might have had more oomph if they had actually appeared handwritten, which they may have in print but not in the ebook I read on my iPad), notes home from school, scientific reports, doctors' reports, investigative reports, and occasional narration from the point of view of 15-year-old Bee (Balakrishna, no wonder she goes by "Bee") Branch. Her mother is a genius MacArthur-grant-winning former architect (I only found out what a MacArthur grant was the other day), and her father is a genius who works for Microsoft.

This book is delightfully funny, and not in that forced way that authors sometimes use where the reader just knows the author was trying to make him or her laugh. I found myself laughing out loud and asking myself, "Was that SUPPOSED to be funny?" After a while I realized that yes, it was supposed to be funny. It was a lot of funny. Just one example: One part had a frantic email from one character to another, and she was using a computer in a cyber cafe in some not-technologically-on-top-of-things country. She was running out of time, the computer kept substituting "b" for "g" and "g" for "b" and the comma key kept repeating. I'm not telling it very well, but trust me, it was hilarious.

It wasn't just the humor that kept me reading, though. It was a can't-put-it-down that I really couldn't put down, and not JUST when I was sitting up late because I didn't want to die from carbon monoxide poisoning. (That's a blog post for another night.)

I plan to look up some more books by this author. I hope her other ones are just as entertaining as this one.

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