Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Club: Where'd You Go Bernadette, Part One

Yesterday I had computer problems, which means you all got an extra day to read Part One of Where'd You Go, Bernadette! I have to say... I LOVE this book. I really love the writing style, and the look into the personal conversations of the characters. So interesting, right? Here are a few questions to discuss. I'll leave my answers in the comment section, and I hope you do too! If you haven't started reading it yet-- then SPOILER ALERT! Don't read the comments!

1. Why do you think that the author is telling the story from Bee's perspective? What does it show you about the mother/daughter bond between Bee & Bernadette?

2. What do you think of Bernadette? Is she totally crazy, and if so-- is it a new development?? What do you think made her go off the deep end?

3. Do you think Bernadette is rude, or is she justified in her hatred for the gnats & Seattle? Are you on her side?

4. What's your opinion on Elgie? Do you think he is a good husband and father, or has work swallowed him up? Do you think he's a good match for Bernadette's energy?

I can't wait to hear what you all think, and check back on Monday for a discussion on parts 2-4. Happy Reading!


  1. 1. I think that Bee has the most unique view of her mother. She loves her mother so much, and is able to defend her & stand up for her... yet we also get a balanced view as she shows us the perspective of the gnats. Plus, I think that since she's younger, her emotions are more raw. She's able to laugh at the gnats, but also gets SO angry when Audrey yells at her mother.

    2. I think Bernadette is a really sad character. It is sad that she hired an assistant, and that she's SO miserable living in Seattle. I don't think she is crazy, because I can somewhat relate to her reclusive tendencies. It is easy to "hate" things, make fun of them, and be most comfortable in your own home. She's just been that way for so long that she is bordering the deep end. I think the house/living condition sounds totally insane, especially since they have so much money! I think that the move to Seattle (and whatever the terrible thing was) paired with Bee's health problems made her really turn inwards and become this "crazy" version of herself.

    3. I don't know if "rude" is the right word. She's a little judgmental- but on that note, I think everyone is. She is just verbal about it. However, I think the things she hates are very nit-picky and show how little patience she has. Again, I can relate to some of her complaints and I think that if anyone is rude, it's Audrey and Soo-Lin... but I also think she could be more positive.

    4. I think Elgie uses work as a way to escape. I'd be REALLY interested to hear what he was like at the very beginning of their relationship, before Microsoft.

    Can't wait to hear your thoughts!!

  2. Loved the book as we discussed, I literally didn't put it down! I started reading it and then I realized it was 4am and I'd read the last page! Okay onto the questions....

    1. I think her perspective really grounded the story over all. There is a sense of maturity yet still very innocent way she sees and feels everything around her that is unique from the adults in the story. Her bond with Bernadette is powerful. Bee loves her mother (and father) and is clearly trying to stay connected to her, while very aware that her mother is slipping away a little at a time.

    2. I think she is a very selfish woman; which doesn't make her a bad person. I think she made big sacrifices for the sake of her family originally by going to Seattle, but instead of learning how to reach out for support from them, she learned to stand on them. Her insecurities from her professional life and personal trauma seem so unresolved, and that shows itself in how she treats those around to her. I think it all added up over time, and the strange intervention attempt just pushed her off the edge she was already so close to.

    3. Oh I think she is terribly unfair to them! However, I don’t think they are much better toward her either. Definitely a situation where neither side seems to have ever taken the time to understand the other, and it snowballed into the chaos that we see from the start of the book. It seems they all had expectations of what the other people should be like that they hold onto.

    4. I would have liked to have more insight from Elgie. But we don’t ever quite get the depth of his character like we do with the others. I do think he loves his family; working so much allowed him to play the “blissfully ignorant” card to the severity of their home life however. I think originally they were a good match, but at a certain point she gave up on herself and he then gave up too.

    1. SAME! 4AM. It's so good! I agree with a lot of your points. Bee really does bring a maturity/innocence combo that would be hard to get from anyone else.

      I really debated whether Bernadette was selfish, or if she was mentally ill. I suppose they never FULLY answer that.

      I would have loved to see more from Audrey's FIRST encounters with Bernadette. What made them obsess over her so much in the first place??

      And I agree, Elgie had little to no depth. I think perhaps that was the point of him from the get go, but it made me really wonder/question his connection to his family. Or, was it just the author's way of showing how disconnected Bernadette had become??

  3. Hi ladies! I am so late joining in the book club but happy to be here and only finished part one, so this is all I've got so far, without reading your previous comments, but will do so once I write my two cents ;) :

    1. I think seeing the world from Bee's perspective is important in order for us to contrast events with Bernadette's perspective allowing us to delve deeper into this world of Bernadette's that she is living in. So far it is obvious that Bernadette and Bee are very close, but that Bernadette is quite overprotective especially since in her world she really only cares about the people in her family. (and her assistant).

    2. So far in Part One, she doesn't seem crazy to me, but certainly eccentric. I think she is the kind of woman who always lived and thought in that way, but because of external factors and environment she is being nudged more and more in this peculiar direction.

    3. I can see how she comes across to the gnats and to anyone else in Seattle maybe. The way people are, with their jealousy, competitive nature and self centeredness (because frankly, every adult so far here seems very self centered....) I am on her side, because she is dealing the best way she can. If people are bothering her but she doesn't care about them, then why waste her time? Except for maybe the tire over the foot deal (so funny) she hasn't done anything to bother other people. She can definitely be perceived like a total b*%#h but really, it's more aloof than deliberately hurtful I think.

    4. Elgie and Bernadette are a classic match of opposites attract. Perhaps in his "do your own thing" way, it is NOT great for a person like Bernadette but he seems to like her the way she is, always taking care of things, being a bit peculiar.... she holds his interest. Never boring. But as a partner, he does need to really take a look at her and see her and sit with her and spend time with her.

    SO that's all I've got! This is fun, I hope I don't appear so off base! LOL. Will see what you think too! Nice meeting you!!!

    1. Welcome!! So glad to have you join in on the fun.

      1. I love your mention of contrasting events. It really does help to see both sides for the full picture!!

      2. Eccentric is the PERFECT word!

      3. It's a great point that EVERY adult is self centered. That's the key, I think. There's not really any fingers to point. I think aloof can so often come across as snotty... and there really is a difference. I love seeing how it drives the gnats insane!

      4. You made a great point about how he just seems to do his own thing, and how it could really be problematic for their relationship when he's not truly spending much time with her.

      Can't wait to hear what you think of the next sections!

  4. I think I expected too much from this book, so I was probably doomed before I started reading. I am baffled by all the press and comments about how funny the story is. Of course it has its moments, but I was hardly "laughing-out-loud." Even after all my over-analyzing (or maybe under-analyzing?), it might be more beneficial to condense this review to just one word that I feel describes this book the most accurately...


Thank you for reading! xoKelli