I mentioned this book in a Weekly Suggestion here. But yeah, I’ll be totally honest with you when I wrote that weekly suggestion I had only gotten 15 pages into the book. Also I accidentally skipped the first page which I didn’t realize until I was on page 50.
As I mentioned in my Weekly Suggestion, this book is an epistolary, or a book that’s comprised of letters. It’s not just that, though. The narrator also tells her side of the story while interweaving the letters and emails and whatnot.
The book chronicles a tale of Bee, her tragically misunderstood mother Bernadette, her rich and smart but completely personality-less father, and a bunch of annoying mothers. Throughout the book, layers and layers of stories are revealed; everyone has a different perspective, lies are told, misunderstandings happen, DISASTER!
Note to the world: misunderstandings are the cause of like, a lot of dramatic things. *Cough* French Revolution.
Okay back to the story.
Bernadette Fox is an agoraphobic woman (relatable) who is generally terrified of people (also relatable) and is completely haunted by a past event (also relatable) only referred to as “That Horrible Thing” until it is finally described later. Her unwillingness to go outside and bond with people ultimately causes the aforementioned misunderstandings to happen, building in a climax that is kind of ruined by the title of the book. Yep, she disappears.
Her daughter, Bee, has to figure out what happened to her mother (because her father was way too busy working at Microsoft on this insanely improbable project to even care) by collecting all the letters and emails and whatnot that make up this book.
The book does an amazing job at portraying how dumb and annoying and vapid people can be. It also does an amazing job at portraying the complexity of humans, which I realize kind of goes against my previous sentence. Humans are all annoying and stupid sure, but they’re also good. Or at least they have the capacity to be surprisingly okay. #JohnLockeandJohnlockSupporter
Before I get to the rest of my nice critiques, here are a couple of things that annoyed me and therefore dropped this book’s grade to an A-. First of all, why did the Asian character have to be the totally sexually proactive one… if you’ve never heard of that stereotype have fun googling. Second, the Microsoft project that Bee’s father was working on (briefly mentioned earlier) is essentially impossible. Also the outcome of the project was rather frustrating. Third, I felt as if the buildup of the story was extremely rich and intense, but the ending was rather rushed and disappointing.
But okay. There’s a reason why this book was in the A zone instead of the B or the C or (god forbid) the D zone. And as y’all know (or will know) I judge things by several criteria: how much emotion the thing produced from me (laughed a lot, so check), general plot line (great buildup, disappointingly fast climax), totally awesomely deep characters with a lot of development (CHECK x100), and stuff that I learned.
So now (surprise surprise) there’s going to be a list. Here’s the list of the TOP 4 THINGS I LEARNED FROM WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE?
1) Spend more time with your family. Connect with them so they never feel lonely. Get to know them so that you understand them. Or so that (vague spoiler!) you never accidentally accuse them for some terrible thing and then completely ruin their life. And the rest of your family’s life. And also so you don’t go completely insane.
2) Get to know people better. This pertains to your family and also everyone else in the universe. People you hate could end up being awesome (or, I mean, they could still end up being awful, in which case yay you were right). Or maybe, getting to know people better could cause you to change.
3) Find something that you believe in and don’t be a sheep. The book happened to contain a lot of satire about religion. Crazy Jesus freaks, hypocritical Christian ladies – the whole 9 yards. Throughout the book, some people give up faith (after realizing how sheeplike they were being), some people accept a sort of faith, some people have a reawakening of faith, etc. Personally, I’m agnostic, but who am I to stop you if you have some sort of spiritual awakening or… spiritual sleepening?
4) Do what you love. Don’t give up on it because people bring you down or you don’t believe in yourself anymore. The things you love stop you from going crazy.
Alright that ended on a super deep note. Well, BYE!
PS: I won’t be here for 3 weeks but I’ll still try to post. I’ll be posting from my phone though, so no gifs. Sorry y’all if you love my gifs. Yay for y’all who hate my gifs.