2014 Book #39: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

bernadetteSince I adopted a certain puppy a few months ago, I’ve spent a lot of time outside on walks, about an hour a day. At first, I was busy talking to her and trying to make her behave, but, for the most part, she’s settled down, and I figured I should use this extra time to listen to books. The first was Where’d You Go, Bernadette. At this point, I seem to be faster at getting through audiobooks than paper (okay, digital) ones because, well, puppy. And Minecraft, though that’s another post (or another blog entirely).

I’ve talked in previous posts about my issues with audiobooks. With a few exceptions, I haven’t enjoyed them. Now, though, I’m wondering if I just listened to the wrong books, or even the right books read by the wrong people.

Because I loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

What’s funny is that I think I liked it so much not because of the book itself, but because of the way it was read. And I can’t find who read it without checking it out and downloading it again! Ugh! Which I’ll do later. (One would think it would be easier to find out who read an audiobook, but even Google is withholding the information.) I got it from my local library’s Overdrive, by the way.

It’s about fifteen-year-old Bee and her mother, Bernadette. As a reward for doing well in school, Bee’s parents tell her she can have anything she wants, and she wants a family trip to Antarctica. Despite some reservations, they agree. It’ll be a difficult trip, as Bee’s father is an executive at Microsoft who is always chained to email, and Bernadette is basically a recluse, considered insane by Bee’s schoolmates’  socialite mothers, who Bernadette calls gnats. Lots of really funny hijinks ensue, including a school function at a gnat’s house being interrupted by a landslide from Bernadette’s property that only happened because said socialite insisted that Bernadette remove her blackberry bushes before the party. Things escalate, and Bernadette ends up disappearing. Bee works to solve the mystery of what happened to her mom.

Most of the story is told in a series of emails and journal entries, and it’s mostly funny, though in the end, it’s poignant. It’s not a great book by any means, but it’s not crappy chick lit, either. I don’t think I would have liked it as much if I had actually read it, though. Having this one read to me, in several voices, made it seem more immediate. I really need to find out who the reader was so I can listen to all of her other books.

Anyway. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is Maria Semple‘s second novel. Her first, This One is Mine, has a lower rating on Goodreads, but the blurb looks interesting enough. I’ll probably pick that one up at some point.

In other news, I’m back from Washington, DC. I still haven’t processed the photos I took with my good camera, so most of my adventures will have to wait. The most notable, though? I ended up in a presidential suite at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel! Here’s a tour:

And I can’t forget the pandas! I only had a little time, so I went to the National Zoo just to see the pandas. What’s cool is that all of the Smithsonian stuff is free, so I didn’t have to pay $20+ to see one animal. That said, I would have done it anyway.

I guess those were the major highlights. I went to most of the usual touristy sites, but I only had a few hours, so it was mainly just a lot of fast walking. Those photos are on the Nikon. And then there was the Society of American Archivists conference that took up most of my time. Lots of People were involved.

After all that, I’m glad to be home to my husband and my menagerie of pets. Things should be calmer for a while.

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