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The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck
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Rachel Joyce
Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime: The Oceans' Oddest Creatures and Why They Matter
Ellen J. Prager
Where'd You Go, Bernadette - Maria Semple Ugh, this book. You see that one star rating? It earned the single star by being mildly engrossing. I know I usually use the word "engrossing" in a positive way, to convey that a book was compelling and interesting, fascinating and exciting. Here I mean that it was just, somehow, able to hold my attention. Not even interest, really, just attention. Somehow. I don't know how. Well I guess this is how: it was entertaining in a way, and it definitely had a certain readability about it. I'm kind of drawn to reading about other people's drama, and that's basically what this whole thing was--catty people and personal family problems and drama.

I didn't like any of the characters. I liked the IDEA of Bernadette, but not really her when she was interacting with anyone or writing things herself--just the idea of her, when other people were talking about her. Bee was supposed to be this awesome girl, like the one exception to every other female in the book, who are without exception "snobbish," "smell weird," manipulative and "crazy" and back-bitey and unhinged. But apparently the author didn't notice(?) that Bee is way judgmental too.

But that's really only part of the misogyny/sexism written into this book (and written into our culture). Then there's the way this book treats relationships between men & women, the gender essentializing, etc. Also the ableism, the white privilege it's dripping with. It's just a whole mess of yuck.

It gets one star for the readability & the drama. It lost all the other stars because I kind of hated its tone (every person in it uses the same voice, by the way), its content, its underlying assumptions, its message, I could go on...but I've wated enough time on it already. It's too bad that this brain candy/beach trash novel turned so icky for me.