In the distant future planet Earth has barely survived attack by an alien race referred to as the “Buggers” for their bug-like appearance. Even though Earth was able to drive the enemy back everyone is waiting for the day when the alien force returns even stronger. All children are monitored as toddlers to early school age to see if they have what it takes to become part of the planets defense force especially leadership material. Young Ender Wiggin is deemed the perfect candidate to be trained up as the commander of the whole military force. He leaves his family at age 6 for rigorous training. He is constantly watched and tested by the teachers and military leaders who believe he may be the only chance for Earth’s survival against the enemy that they know so little about and understand even less. But is Ender clever enough and strong enough to be what the military is looking for? How can a child accomplish what no adult has been able to do so far?
Bernadette is one of those characters that you just can’t get out of your head. I loved every minute of this book and found myself laughing out loud at times. Maria Semple takes an entertaining tale and makes it even better in the way she delivers her information. We learn about the life of Bernadette through a series of documents: emails, faxes, FBI reports, hand written notes, news articles, etc. This packet has been assembled and given to Bernadette’s daughter Bee. Through the packet of information we learn that Bernadette was once the hottest thing in architecture, but had a break down and ran away to hide in Seattle. She is married to Elgin Branch one of the hottest acquisitions Microsoft ever made. She is being harassed by her neighbor Audrey because of her wild blackberries. And she has become so agoraphobic that she has hired a virtual assistant in India to do everything for her from making dinner reservations to getting prescriptions to booking a trip to Antarctica. It is the trip to Antarctica, a reward for Bee getting straight As, that really throws Bernadette for a loop. Everything starts falling apart and Bernadette disappears. It is up to Bee to figure out what happened and where her mother went.
I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone. I listened to the audio version and it was hilarious! I love how snarky Bernadette is and how she pokes fun at everything from Canadians to prep school moms (they are gnats!) to Microsoft to herself. There are a ton of wonderful instances in this book that I wanted to relisten to. I will admit to being just a bit let down by the ending, but the rest of the book was so entertaining that I am giving it a pass.
This is a story of attempting to forge meaningful connections within one’s family and beyond.
The atmosphere reminded me of that found in the title “A Certain Slant of Light”, though Sadness is far more realistic and grounded (yes it contains a small amount of magical realism).
Sometimes after I finish a particularly dark or weighty book, I like to add something light to my reading diet. The Long Quiche Goodbye by Avery Aames, which won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel in 2010, was just the sort of dessert course I needed. It is no masterpiece of beautiful writing nor is it innovative in its plot – it is simply a fun, relaxing cozy mystery.
Cheese seller and amateur sleuth Charlotte Bessette has just expanded the family cheese business. But on the night of her grand reopening, her landlord is murdered just outside of her store – and her grandmother is the prime suspect. Charlotte works to find the guilty party to save her grandmother from prison.
The Long Quiche Goodbye is an enjoyable read. If you’re in the mood for a light, quick cozy mystery, this book is for you.