Friday, July 26, 2013

July Group Read Discussion: Where'd You go Bernadette

I had heard a lot of hype about this book and figured I'd need to check it out eventually, but the description didn't realllly move me so I put it on the back burner until it was chosen for July's Group Read.  I must say, I liked it, but I didn't find it as amazing as some reviews I've read.  It started out a little slow going, albeit funny, and then I got into it but then the end, ehhh.. It was just okay.  The middle was the best part. 

1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is told from the point of view of a daughter trying to find her missing mother. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from Bee’s perspective? What light does it shed on the bond between Bernadette and Bee?

2. What are your thoughts on Bernadette’s character? Has she become unhinged or has she always been a little crazy? What, if anything, do you think sent her over the edge? Have you ever had a moment in your own life that utterly changed you, or made you call into question your own sanity?

I think Bernadette was a little to self-involved and too sure of herself when she was starting out as an architect because she was a little eccentric she got more credit than she may have deserved and people encourage her oddities until she became her oddities and she didn't know how to stop.

3. When Bernadette relocates from Los Angeles to Seattle, she must cope with being a transplant in a new city. Have you ever moved, or even stayed put but switched jobs, and had to adjust to an entirely different culture? What was it like?

4.  The idea of going to Antarctica becomes too much for an already frazzled Bernadette to bear, but the trip itself, surprisingly, turns out to be exactly what she needs to get back on track. How do other characters in the novel experience their own breakthroughs? Which character is most transformed?

5. Bernadette often behaves as if she is an outsider. Do you think she is? If so, do you think her feelings of being an outsider are self-imposed, or is she truly different from the other members of her community? Do you ever feel like an outsider?

I think she used being an outsider as a way to protect herself.  If she insulted them first, than it wasn't on her.  She wasn't a very sociable person and I don't think she had the skill to fake polite conversations or just being around people who she may not like.  She just went on the offensive immediately in hopes that no one would talk to her again.

6. The book has a very playful structure. Do you think it works? Why do you think the author chose it rather than a more straightforward, traditional structure? Think about other books with unusual structures and how their formats influenced your reading experience.

Honestly, if it wasn't written in the way it was, I might not have been able to get through it.  I found it easy to follow and very informative about multiple characters without having too much dialogue in the way.

7. What do you think of Bernadette and Elgie’s marriage? Is it dysfunctional?  Is there real love there? How has their marriage changed over time? Think about romantic relationships you’ve been in that have evolved, positively or negatively, and why.

8. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is, at its core, a story about a woman who disappears, both literally and figuratively. Were you able to relate to the book? How and why? Do you feel Bernadette’s disappearance was unique, or do all women, in a sense, disappear into motherhood and marriage?

Thanks for participating! Hope you will join us in August!

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