Book Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wish I could go four-and-a-half. But until Goodreads brings in a 100-point rating system, I’ll never really be able to drop the stars I’m looking for. (Except maybe My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. That one would still get the full monte.)

So. Bernadette.

Not the emotional thunderhead I’ve grown accustomed to these days, but still quite a good read. It was an epistolary novel, which was nice to get back to. But rather than deep truths revealed in deeper ways, Bernadette was more of a rabble-rousing whodunnit, or howdunnit. Maybe whydunnit. There was that essential element of life not ever being what it seems, and a respectable dose of compassion-tossing storyline, but mostly it was just a nice plot.

Just. I should stay away from that word. It was a nice plotline. And it was well-written. There were twists and childhood frustrations aplenty, lots of human grit to feed the crop, and healthy levels of snort-laughter. I don’t think I shed a tear, but that’s not a prerequisite for a good novel, is it? Maria Semple had a great idea, and executed it between the pages. Her voice was clear, and her characters wrought in the perfect mix of reality and disbelief suspended by ‘I would so love to do that.’ It wasn’t ‘just’ anything. It was a good book.

I just couldn’t go for the coveted five stars. Chalk it up to the outstanding run I’ve been on. It’s just hard to measure up when you’re standing next to Shaq and his posse of giants.

For sure, it was a quick read. Kept me coming back, wanting to know what was going to blow up next. Semple had no problem keeping my attention. And that’s something.

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