For being only my fourth book read over the past 20 months, Where'd You Go, Bernadette did not disappoint. It was a quick read, quicker than I expected; even with limited time to read I finished it in less than a week.
Overall ThoughtsIt was entertaining and intriguing. The story caught my attention right away; I was hooked. The first part of the story, leading up to Bernadette's disappearance, is told through pieces of correspondence - email, notes, letters, and documents. The change in pace from a typical narrative made reading fun. I found the story leading up to Bernadette's disappearance to be fast-paced and it kept me wanting to read more and more. I couldn't tell what would necessarily would happen next or why and how Bernadette would go missing; and I liked that mystery surrounding the mystery.
I found the book to slow down a little for me once Bee and Elgin embarked for Antarctica. Although it was not a large portion of the book, I found it to drag on. I fully supported (and shared, as a reader does) Bee's anger at Elgin, but didn't need repeated descriptions and examples of that anger. Furthermore, the mystery of where Bernadette was and what happened to her was, surprising, less exciting for me. The exciting mystery for me was why and how she went missing in the first place. In summation, approximately the first half of the book was thrilling for me and the second half was entertaining, although less so than the first half and was more of a perfunctory requirement to finish out the book and get the last bits of the story.
Opinion on CharactersSome of the characters were relatable and likable; I instantly liked Bernadette and Bee. At first, I also liked Elgin. Others I took a disliking too, whether immediately (Soo-Lin) or eventually (Elgin). Some characters, surprisingly and refreshingly went from bad to good (Audrey) - a twist in and of itself that I was not expecting. All the characters were interesting and elicited an emotional reaction.
I agreed with Bernadette's actions and words at every turn. I sympathized for her and wanted her to be happy. I didn't see her colossal mistake coming - finding out Manjula was really identity-stealing Russian mafia came out of no where and left me feeling especially bad for Bernadette.
I was frustrated at how quickly Elgin began doubting Bernadette. As a reader, at least, it seemed quick. Although if you think of it as decades of a relationship, it would be a much more gradual process than the paper trail could portray. The pain and hurt that can occur in a relationship was not captured with such minimal coverage of the various ups and downs Bernadette and Elgin's relationship experienced. I do not believe it should not have been covered in more detail, but my point is that it left the reader feeling like Elgin turned Judas quickly.
I took an immediate dislike to Soo-Lin and that continued through out the book ... her whole victim support group thing sounded like a joke, as it was supposed to ... although towards the end I did start to feel bad for her. Her relationship with Elgin was an unfortunate result of her infatuation, but also his obliviousness to that infatuation. Without paying attention to the fact that he was doing do, he led Soo-Lin on and they fed off of each other when assessing Bernadette's mental health.
Audrey's turn-around was such a welcome surprise. I wanted to punch her in the face and I was so pleasantly surprised when she took responsibility for herself and her actions and got her shit together. It was wholly redeeming.
Rating the BookTo sum up my feelings about various aspects of this book, I offer the following ratings...
Scale 1 - 10 with 10 being the best
Plot/Story // 9
Pace // 8
Length // 9
Characters // 9
Ending // 7
Overall // 8.5
Would I recommend this book to a friend? I sure would!