Where’d you go,Bernadette by Maria Semple – book review

Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.com

Synopsis

Bernadette Fox has vanished.

When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown.

And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces–which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where’d You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are and the power of a daughter’s love for her mother.

Plot summary

When I heard that “Where’d you go Bernadette” was being made into a film (released in March 2019) I knew I had to read it. The book is focused primarily on Bee, a young fifteen-year-old girl who happens to be very intelligent for her age. There is also Bee’s relationship with her mother Bernadette, an agoraphobic who was once a thriving architect.

As mentioned in the synopsis, Bee gets straight A’s in her exams so she suggests that the family take a trip to Antarctica. Bee, dad and Bernadette begin to prepare for the trip as a serious of events occur throwing the whole Branch household upside down.

Opinion

I would first like to mention that the synopsis is a little misleading. You expect Bernadette to disappear fairly early on right? Wrong! She doesn’t disappear until part 5 which is about half way through the book.

The author mentioned an internet security storyline in the beginning which I liked. She emphasised the dangers of the internet, hackers and the types of information hackers can easily get a hold of. It’s scary stuff indeed.

I flew through the first half of the book. It was mostly composed of emails and letters so it was easy to read. After part 5, the book became a bit complicated. I didn’t really feel anything towards the characters and I began to lose interest in the storyline.

Conclusion

I wouldn’t say this was “one of the year’s best books”. It was okay but it wasn’t great. While I enjoyed up until part 5, the book went a bit bland after that. All in all, I would give “Where’d you go Bernadette” 2.5 stars.

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Tender is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald – book review

Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.

Set on the French Riviera in the 1920s, Tender is the Night charts the captivating lives of American Dick Diver and his wife Nicole. The pair are the epitome of chic, living a glamorous lifestyle and entertaining friends at their villa.

Young film star Rosemary Hoyt arrives in France and becomes entranced by the couple. It is not long before she is attracted to the enigmatic Dick, but he and his wife hold dark secrets and, as their marriage becomes more fractured, Fitzgerald laments the failure of idealism and the carefully constructed trappings of high society in the Roaring Twenties.

There are three books (parts) within ”Tender is the Night”. Book 1 of “Tender is the Night” was nicely written. In the beginning, we are introduced to young film star Rosemary Hoyt as she arrives in France accompanied by her mother. Rosemary has only been a celebrity the past 6 months but people already recognise her. Rosemary meets Dick Diver for the first time in chapter 2.

Dick’s wife, Nicole Diver, is described later on in chapter 4 just as Rosemary becomes infatuated with Dick Diver.

I enjoyed reading book 1 but sadly, the story went quickly downhill as book 2 began. There were several times where I found myself wanting to skip pages and to try and figure out where the remainder of the book was headed.

The final parts of the book seemed like an attempt by Fitzgerald to finish the 315 + page novel but in doing so, gradually let the plot slip through his fingers. However, I think the ending was a good and well-structured end to the novel.

Conclusion

I was looking forward to reading “Tender is the Night” after reading Fitzgerald’s most successful novel” The Great Gatsby” which I loved. However, if you are looking to compare the two novels, then I am afraid you may be disappointed.

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Oh my God, What a complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen – book review

*review may contain spoilers

Aisling is 28, and she’s a complete Aisling.

Living ‘Down Home’ with Mammy and Daddy, she commutes to her good pensionable job in Dublin and stays two nights a week with her boyfriend of seven years, John.

But Aisling wants more. She wants the ring on her finger. She wants the hen with the willy straws. She wants the grand big house with the utility room of her dreams.

When a week in Tenerife doesn’t result in a proposal, Aisling decides she’s had enough. It’s time for a change.

A new start, a love triangle (well, more of a square) and some home truths force Aisling out of her comfort zone and into a life she never imagined. 

I saw this book in various bookshops and famous Irish authors saying it was “hilarious “and “moving”. So since the character Aisling was nicknamed the Irish Bridget Jones, I thought I’d find out for myself what all the hype was about. Needless to say, I was very disappointed.

This was a highly overrated book. There’s a ton of Irish phrases on nearly every page but the thing about these Irish phrases, nobody says them anymore. Even my father is from the country and he doesn’t say half of the stuff Aisling was on about. It seemed like an attempt to fill up the entire 272 page book.

If you ask me it seems like Aisling doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing. She doesn’t know what she wants in life or who she wants to be with. First she wants to get married and then later on she doesn’t know if it’s for her or not. Aisling is very indecisive.

Aisling breaks up with her boyfriend of 7 years but proceeds to want to know his every move. Who he’s with and what he’s doing at all times. (Bit stalkerish to be honest).

The repetitive mention of the GAA really made me consider closing the book there and then. It was so annoying. Not every Irish person is involved in the GAA.

There wasn’t really any love triangle/square in this. It was just Aisling deciding who she liked and then comparing that person to her ex John.

There was no character development. Characters such as Piotr, Aisling’s brother and Donna seemed to be thrown in for the sake of it. I didn’t really like Aisling’s character. Aisling was overly emotional, indecisive and did I mention a low key stalker as well? The book was full of Irish clichés. (Oh the cringe). Overall, I’m disappointed with how the book played out.

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Who’s Afraid of Mr Wolfe? by Hazel Osmond – book review

Some spoilers may be present in this review

Ellie thinks she’s in love. But then, she doesn’t know Jack…

Ellie Somerset loves her career – obsessed boyfriend Sam and she loves her job as an advertising copywriter. But Sam is always at work and her fresh ideas keep being overlooked.

Her life gets more complicated when new boss Jack Wolfe – Heathcliff in a suit – arrives at the agency. With his brooding good looks, trademark scowl and plans for a change, he challenges Ellie to smarten up and prove herself.

To Ellie’s horror, she finds herself both repelled and attracted to the sexy and dangerous Jack. But this particular wolf has an awful lot to hide…

Who’s afraid of Mr Wolfe? Not Ellie. Not until it’s far too late.

I spotted this book in Dealz for about €2.  This book was originally €7.77 in stores. The cover was just so sparkly and pretty. I read the synopsis and thought well, this sounds good.

In the beginning of the book we are introduced to Ellie Somerset. She’s coming up with an idea involving singing knickers for a campaign which is quite bizarre.

Her co-worker Lesley (also her best friend) is mentioned in the introduction along with other co-workers such as Hugo. The co-workers discover they have a new boss named Jack Wolfe who Hugo has mentioned he’s afraid of.

Ellie works as an advertising copywriter and is hoping to get a promotion for her hard work. Alongside her friend Lesley, they come up with a song for their knickers campaign. Some of the board members think it’s absolutely ridiculous but Jack Wolfe quite likes their idea.

Jack begins to challenge Ellie which nearly almost ends in the pair bickering and Jack being the arrogant boss with a mysterious past. We learn fairly early on that Jack likes to sleep around.

He charms women and sex is always the end goal. But this time something is different, he is very attracted to Ellie but as her boss there’s nothing he can do as his feelings grow progressively.

Ellie can’t stand him always taking a dig at her but later on she seems to grow more and more attracted to the enigmatic Jack. The spark between them is undeniable and the two eventually reveal their lust for one another.

The first half of the book was very well – written. Ellie is a feisty, determined character and is not afraid to speak her mind. The chemistry between Jack and Ellie was enjoyable to read as well.

Reading how the constant bickering plays out reminded of a somewhat old married couple but in this case, the two characters would eventually need to give in to their feelings for one another.

The second half of the book was an utter disappointment. The once determined heroine was now an overly emotional, desperate woman who felt she needed Jack to love her.

Jack continued to sleep with other women and frankly, treated Ellie like shit. And the most annoying part, Ellie let him treat her badly. She was so desperate to be loved by Jack even when he continued to manipulate and insult her that it was difficult to finish the novel without skipping pages.

 Overall, this book had a lot of potential but sadly the second half of the book was disappointing.

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