Where Did You Go, Bernadette

bernadetteI started reading this book for my work book club.  On the surface it seemed to be another family drama about a messed up family.  It seemed to be a little bit flip for the damage that seemed to be happening to the daughter.

But I kept reading.

Eventually I realized that this book is like those tv shows that seem to be pure comedy or drama, until you realize that they are really not.  Somehow, while you thought you knew what you were watching, the genre got flipped.  It’s a funny show about serious issues.  It’s a black comedy.  It’s gone where you don’t expect it to go.

Initially you think that Bernadette is a mentally unstable bored housewife with too much time and money on her hands.  As the book unfolds you see her previous life as an architect and her brilliance at her craft.  And then you see how that all unraveled and started her current spiral.  And you see how that spiral drags her family with her.  And you think you understand what is happening.

And then you see that the perspective that you’ve seen isn’t the only perspective.  In fact, Bernadette might not be the crazy one here.

I’m trying really hard not to give away the twists and turns of the novel.

This was the most surprising book I’ve read this year.  What I wrote off as really light fiction actually had a lot more going on underneath.

This is a well crafted book.  Sure, it’s written in emails, texts, faxes and occasional narrative, but there’s nothing light about it.  This book bends genres.  I ended up loving the character which drove me crazy in the beginning.  I saw my biases and how quickly I jumped to conclusions.

I would recommend this book to the lovers of books.  It will take you on a ride and be a breath of fresh air.

I’m so glad it was my ‘required reading’ and that I stuck with it long enough to see where the book would eventually take me.

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