Thursday, 27 July 2017

Book Review: Where'd you go, Bernadette - M. Semple

“That's right,' she told the girls. 'You are bored. And I'm going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it's boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it's on you to make life interesting, the better off you'll be.” 

Loved this novel! I kept them in my TBR pile for ages, I kept putting it off and this summer I finally decided to read it - why did I not do it before? It is a brilliant novel, both for the plot, the characters and the writing style. It did not remind me of anything else i read before, so it was very refreshing.
Bernadette is a legend, she is so funny and, even if she clearly has some issues, what she does and says is what a lot of times all of us would like to do and say. The satire with with Seattle's Mercedes and Subaru parents are described is hilarious, and the Microsoft's culture where her husband work is really interesting to read about too.
The novel is written in the form of letters, emails, bits of narration for Bee, Bernadette's daughter, who is the real force of the book, a wise and sweet teenager.
This book never lets you down and he has a lot of plot's twist so you never imagine where it is going to take you.
If you think about it beyond the humour, it is quite a sad story, Bernadette has quite a lot of unresolved problems and her husband is not such a nice person as it appears at the beginning. The poor Bee is also under a lot of pressures in the books.
The ending is a bit abrupt maybe.but overall this book is brilliant and I would highly recommend it to anybody.

I can pinpoint that as the single happiest moment of my life, because I realized then that Mom would always have my back. It made me feel giant. I raced back down the concrete ramp, faster than I ever had before, so fast I should have fallen, but I didn't fall, because Mom was in the world.” 

Overall rating: 8,5      Plot: 8,5     Writing style: 9      Cover:  8

Title:Where'd you go, Bernadette
Author: Maria Semple
Publisher: W&N
Pages: 336
Publication year: 2012

To Elgie Branch, a Microsoft wunderkind, she's his hilarious, volatile, talented, troubled wife.
To fellow mothers at the school gate, she's a menace.
To design experts, she's a revolutionary architect.
And to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, quite simply, mum.
Then Bernadette disappears. And Bee must take a trip to the end of the earth to find her.

The Author:
From the author's web page:
Maria Semple spent her early years traveling around Europe with her bohemian parents, but that ended abruptly when her father, Lorenzo Semple, Jr., finished a pilot for Batman while living in Torremolinos, Spain. He airmailed it in, they shot it, and the family moved to LA.  After the Batman TV series and feature, Lorenzo went on to write a bunch of movies. Once he was established, the family moved to Aspen, Colorado.Maria attended boarding school at Choate Rosemary and college at Barnard, where she majored in English.Maria moved to LA shortly after graduating Barnard and wrote screenplays which never got made, and then TV shows. 90210, Mad About You, Arrested Development and others. She quit to give fiction a try.This One Is Mine was published by Little, Brown in 2008.In 2008 Maria, George Meyer and their little daughter moved to Seattle just because. It was a difficult adjustment for Maria, which became the basis for Where’d You Go, Bernadette. The novel came out in 2012 and became an instant bestseller. Today Will Be Different is her latest.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Book Review: Swimming home - D. Levy

“... to be forceful was not the same as being powerful and to be gentle was not the same as being fragile...” 

A peculiar book, the first words that come to mind to describe this novel are languid, sad, summery, poetry.
The book is set in Cote d'Azur, in a villa not far from Nice where two families are holidaying. The found a naked girl swimming in the pool when they arrive and she ends up staying.
A depressed yet cheerful poet, a depressed and neurotic young woman, a girl too wise for her age, a wife detached and so very lonely, a man whose focus is food.
A very strange book, short and easy to get through, quite sad, it reminded me a bit of Fitzgerlad's novels set in France, where underneath the patina of drunken wealthiness, all the characters were in reality depressed and lonely.

Overall rating: 5      Plot: 5     Writing style: 5      Cover:  7

Title:Swimming hone
Author: Deborah Levy
Publisher: Faber&Faber
Pages: 176
Publication year: 2012

As he arrives with his family at the villa in the hills above Nice, Joe sees a body in the swimming pool. But the girl is very much alive. She is Kitty Finch: a self-proclaimed botanist with green-painted fingernails, walking naked out of the water and into the heart of their holiday. Why is she there? What does she want from them all? And why does Joe's enigmatic wife allow her to remain?
A subversively brilliant study of love, Swimming Home reveals how the most devastating secrets are the ones we keep from ourselves.

The Author:
Deborah Levy FRSL is a British playwright, novelist, and poet. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1959, and she emigrated with her parents to London at the age of 10.