Sunday, March 30, 2014

march book club discussion



Happy (almost) end of March!! I'm posting book club discussion today since tomorrow is Monday and Mondays are just awful (and Mondays are always extra busy for some reason, I think I spend any extra time Mondays catching up on all the work I thought I was going to get done over the weekend but didn't...or something).

BUT ANYWAYYYYYY


I'm excited to talk about this book, you guys! I don't want to totally run the discussion but I do want to say:

1. Where do I get a Manjula? I know she actually ended up working for the Russian mafia and she actually was going to fly to Seattle to kill Bernadette (or something) but there are days where I feel like I would take my risks for 75 cents and hour assistance.

2. I want this quote printed on a plaque and hung in my classroom, my living room, my car, my forehead, etc:
“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.”  
...and the fact that the girls in the back seat of the car that Bernadette was talking to in this scene were in preschool and this is something I could see happening with my mom, if it didn't -- in fact -- happen and I just don't remember it. 

3. I identify a little too closely with Bernadette and her neurotic behavior. This isn't necessarily something that I am proud of, but I'm thinking there's more neurotic out there then people are willing to admit.

4. Bernadette's description of Seattle and the people who live in Seattle. Am I the only one who read that more than once because it was just so spot on? And not wanting to leave the house because she "might run into a Canadian". hilllllll-aaaaaaaarious.

5. Bee and Bernadette's relationship was my favorite part of the story. That even though Bernadette was a whack-job and wore a fishing vest and hung billboards over the neighbor's house Bee had her back. Bee knew her intentions were good. Bee knew her mom well enough to know that there was more to the story than her mom running away from them to get drunk and jump off the side of a boat in Antarctica.
And in 13 years I hope that if (when) I do neurotic things every once and awhile (I will), Sage will at least know that I have good intentions and wasn't running off to Antarctica to get away from him. (I'm not running away to Antarctica -- btw -- for those who are actually concerned after reading this -- I'm speaking metaphorically).

6. WTF Soo-Lin.

7. I would like my own Petite Trianon in the form of an airstream trailer.

8. I could keep going, but I won't. Or there would be nothing left to say!!


(oh, and I'm reeeeeeally excited about April's book. Watch for the post on the first of April! -- not a joke -- ha)



DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is told from the point of view of a daughter trying to find her missing mother. Why do you think the author chose to tell the story from Bee’s perspective? What light does it shed on the bond between Bernadette and Bee?

2. What are your thoughts on Bernadette’s character? Has she become unhinged or has she always been a little crazy? What, if anything, do you think sent her over the edge? Have you ever had a moment in your own life that utterly changed you, or made you call into question your own sanity?

3. When Bernadette relocates from Los Angeles to Seattle, she must cope with being a transplant in a new city. Have you ever moved, or even stayed put but switched jobs, and had to adjust to an entirely different culture? What was it like?
4. The idea of going to Antarctica becomes too much for an already frazzled Bernadette to bear, but the trip itself, surprisingly, turns out to be exactly what she needs to get back on track. How do other characters in the novel experience their own breakthroughs? Which character is most transformed?

5. How are Audrey Griffin and Bernadette Fox more alike than they realize?

6. Bernadette often behaves as if she is an outsider. Do you think she is? If so, do you think her feelings of being an outsider are self-imposed, or is she truly different from the other members of her community? Do you ever feel like an outsider?

7. The book has a very playful structure. Do you think it works? Why do you think the author chose it rather than a more straightforward, traditional structure? Think about other books with unusual structures and how their formats influenced your reading experience.

8. What do you think of Bernadette and Elgie’s marriage? Is it dysfunctional?  Is there real love there? How has their marriage changed over time? Think about romantic relationships you’ve been in that have evolved, positively or negatively, and why.

9. Where’d You Go, Bernadette is, at its core, a story about a woman who disappears, both literally and figuratively. Were you able to relate to the book? How and why? Do you feel Bernadette’s disappearance was unique, or do all women, in a sense, disappear into motherhood and marriage?
(Questions issued by publisher.)