What do you do when you are eating the most delicious stew
and half-way through you learn that the tiniest bit of poop
has been stirred in?
Apparently for me the answer is keep eating.
I'm talking about Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple, and I have an
extremely mixed review.
SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't read the book, you might not want to read this
The first part had me hooked. When I got to the mudslide, I stopped reading for a few days just to savor the brilliance. Bernadette hadn't even disappeared yet, and I was gushing. Then she dropped the bomb.
Now, I'm one of those weirdos who don't like books with swearing in them. I've
even put a book down when the f-word was used correctly in context. But, granted, in this book Bernadette was angry, livid actually, and I've known a few people who when pushed too far will let that word fall from their otherwise swear-free lips.
Well, in this case it seemed like the swearing floodgates had swung open. Soon almost every character had used the word at least once, and frankly, I was getting
tired of it. Only because I didn't think it added anything to really strong story.
But that's not why I'm writing this review. Most adult readers don't even care how many times a character swears, as long as the story is good. No, the reason I got really mad at the book was after Bernadette disappeared. Because the biggest clue that led her daughter Bee to believe Bernadette was alive was in an impossible place.
Bernadette wrote a letter to Bee to try and keep everyone from worrying. She wrote it from a shipping container in Antarctica, on a writing pad that was found in her cabin on the cruise ship she had already left.
Please, please tell me Maria Semple did that on purpose. Please tell me that, when the editor pointed out how the contents of the letter make it impossible for the writing pad to be in her cabin, that the author giggled slyly and said, "Yes, it does, doesn't it?"
Because if that's what happened then I can go back to thinking how brilliant she is. I can go back to thinking that all those people who have highly recommended the book
are just "in the know" about the crazy story.
Otherwise, it was poop in a delicious stew. And I should have stopped reading at the mudslide.
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)