Dear Bernadette: A review, kind of.

Dear Ms. Bernadette Fox,

First thing’s first. I know what you are thinking. You are thinking Does this woman realise I am a fictional character?


Do she care?

No. I have been talking to fictional characters ever since I read The Catcher in the Rye at the age of 13 and found Holden Caulfield to be a more interesting conversationalist than most of my peers.

Second. I had a scare when I read your letters, particularly your rants against Seattle. You see, I grew up right across the water (yes, I am one of your dreaded Canadians, though I tend to not share so much the niceness trait you so dubiously attribute to our nation) and my rants against the Westcoast (or Northwest coast??) are eerily similar to yours.

You might ask,why is this scary?

Well, my dear, I hate to break it to you- but you are clearly a prominent board member of Crazy, inc.

Not that I hold that against you. You are a certified genius after all and we all know that if the scale leans toward genius, there has to be something that populates the lighter side, that has to have its ass in the air. Usually it is sanity.

But back to your rants. I just wanted to point out a few salient points.

First of all, your beef about Canadians not being able to recognise greatness was delightfully, randomly, weird, especially coming from a resident of a country who likes to bandy about the word hero like a ping pong ball.

Seriously, Canadians don’t recognise greatness? I would argue that Americans, like deluded gold miners,  spend a lot of time burrowing for the elusive quality, and when they find even a little grain of it they set it on a pedestal, add some neon lights with arrows pointing to it and charge for admission.

As for talk about the weather. Let me point out to you that Californians are among the few in the world who do not have this common thing to complain about. The rest of the world must deal with, yes, here it comes, weather that differs from day to day.

Having just visited Los Angeles, I noticed that people in L.A. do not indeed talk about the weather; they talk about traffic. Traffic is your weather, which you have managed to transfer to Seattle. I have nothing to say about Seattle drivers, except that they seem very similar to Victoria drivers, which makes me think that it must be a Northwest coast thing.

Having said all that, I agree with you about Seattle’s weather. Whereas in L.A. it is pretty much sunny all the time, in Seattle it is pretty much rainy all the time. It occurred to me while reading your book that Grunge style was not so much a style but a fetishizing of the look of seasonal depression (seasonal being all year in Seattle’s case). You can’t live in a rainy, damp place and get away from the extremely unfashionable but necessary fleece and flannel. Which is extremely depressing.

That is all I got. I liked your book quite a bit though the ending was a  little bit predictable (though enjoyably so). It was funny and sad and a good reminder of how we dull ourselves down to fit in. Your refusal to do this was inspirational. I for one vow to be less dull in the future.



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