“Where’d you go, Bernadette?” by Maria Semple – abandoned at 10% because I’ve become a grumpy old man.

I’m colour blind or, at least, that’s what they tell me. I’ve never seen the world any differently than the way I see it now. I’m taking other people’s word for it that they’re seeing things that I’m not. It COULD be a mass delusion or a global conspiracy but, you know, Occam’s razor, think horses not zebras (unless you’re on the Savannah, in which case, think Zebras).

Most of the time, the difference in what I see and what others see has no impact. Then I’ll get the, “Wow, look at that field of poppies. Isn’t that red amazing?”. I see red as a recessive colour. If I really look, I’ll notice it, but it doesn’t jump out at me, so poppies are kinda lost against all the green stuff around them. Other people are much more conditioned to see red and pay attention. I can tell this by the way their eyes immediately spot even the smallest bloodstain on my clothes – but that’s a different story.

Anyway, listening to the much loved, “Where’d you go, Bernadette?” (now made into a movie starring Cate Blanchett – odd how no one complains about casting an Australian actress as an American but pick the wrong skin colour for a mermaid and you’re in deep trouble), I felt the same way that I do when other people go wow over that field of poppies – if I squint, I can kinda see that this is a funny book, packed with zany humour and delivered with a light touch and a slightly unconventional structure. I just don’t care.

I was looking for something light. I’m doing that a lot lately. I certainly found it with “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”. Problem is, I found out that this is not the kind of light I’m in sympathy with. This doesn’t make me chuckle. It makes me grind my teeth, muttered words like “vapid”, and “narcissistic” and take off my headphones and rant about unconscious privilege and irrelevant first-world problems and ask how the hell someone who thinks of herself as smart and well-educated EVER thought that Polar Bears and Penguins shared a habitat.

I gave up after an hour (about 10%) deciding that I’m humour blind as well as colour blind, that I should learn to take life less seriously and that this DEFINITELY wasn’t the book that was going to teach me that.

The audiobook is read by Kathleen Wilhoite in a frantic over-emoted voice that may perfectly capture the spirit of the book but was also a reason why I didn’t make it past the first hour. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.

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