I don't think that I would listen to it again but that would only be because I do not often reread books.
Bernadette is my favorite character because she is such a lively and vibrant person. She has such a quirky personality which I adored throughout the book.
I think that Bea is performed the best by the narrator
There was not a particular moment that moved me.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a book that kept my interest. I really loved it!
This is a great story from a knowledgeable, insightful writer. Much more interesting than the description as it takes off on unexpected riffs about sustainable architecture, upper-class private schooling, internet fraud, the Microsoft culture, Seattle's foibles, and of course love and family. The two main female characters, mother and daughter, are unlike any I've encountered in fiction, ever. I can hardly take it out of my ears.
Plus, the narrator is so lively and expressive. She adds enormously to the enjoyment. I would listen to another book read by her just to hear her again.
This is one of the few times I've reviewed a book. As a Seattle resident and former MS contractor I really enjoyed all the references. It made me laugh and I found the main character so quirky and endearing. I definitely recommend it.
About halfway through this audiobook, Kathleen Wilhoite gets to sing and her voice is glorious. Maybe that's why she was hired? Certainly it wasn't for her ability to deliver a multi-voiced screwball comedy like this one. Admittedly, it's a tough job, since the narrative is told through emails, official reports, letters, etc. It needs a narrator who can create a full character for each voice. Wilhoite, apparently deciding that this is a wacky story, narrates everything more or less the same: The 'official' characters are stiffs, but everything else is delivered in a tony of zany melodrama. When the characters are being serious, zany melodrama. When the characters are being matter-of-fact, zany melodrama. When the characters are sad, slightly mopey zany melodrama. This becomes really grating after a while.
This seems like a funny, clever novel that doesn't go quite where you expect it to. I think it could have been very very good with a better narrator. I'd still recommend it, but be aware that you'll be gritting your teeth every now and then as Wilhoite slaughters Semple's finer touches.
It's hard to know what to compare "Bernadette" to, it's so unpredictable, entertaining and loopy. It's a perfect distraction: well-written, energetic, quirky. Great characters. I would definitely recommend.
Kathleen Wilhote's performance is an enormous plus. I'm glad I did the audio version for this book because of her and can't wait to find more books she reads. Extra bonus is her incredible vocal performance-- I assume that's her singing? Amazing.
This book was such a surprise! It was paced so well that it was hard to stop listening at any point, because I just had to know what happens next. It has the great combination of good character development and interesting plot.
Why I don't think it's for everyone:
- I love it when a book has characters who are fantastically flawed, yet written in a way where you absolutely love them anyway. However, I think some listeners might be put off by the characters' personalities and may not find as much humor in their actions as I did. If you are easily offended by people who are easily offended, this book may drive you crazy.
-This book also peripherally touches on some pretty sensitive topics with humor (hard to say which without spoilers). I found it worked very well, but some might not agree.
-The book mostly comprises emails and notes, with the occasional narrative thrown in. I know some readers don't care for that kind of format.
I gave the story 5 stars because I am still thinking about the characters a day or two after I finished, wondering what they're doing! I gave the narrator 4 stars because it was almost perfect, including a fantastic singing voice. I docked one star because I felt like Bee was voiced in a way that sounded more like an 8 year old than a 14 year old.
This story of Bea, a 15 year old in a 10 year old's body due to a major heart defect in infancy, is interesting up to a point, and then goes -- quite literally -- south. The narrator, especially when voicing Bea, used an unfortunate whine to simulate adolescence. The backstory was more interesting than the novel as it moved forward in time. The COVER is terrific - good marketing!