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Bonita Avenue

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  6,406 ratings  ·  467 reviews
Joni Sigerius, de dochter van de rector magnificus van de Twentse universiteit, drijft samen met haar vriend Aaron een handeltje dat ze maar liever voor haar krachtige en briljante vader verborgen houdt. Het is in het jaar van de vuurwerkramp dat ook in het gezin de boel explodeert. Niet alleen lopen Joni en Aaron tegen de lamp, die zomer komt ook de enige en echte zoon va ...more
Paperback, 543 pages
Published September 2010 by De Bezige Bij (first published 2010)
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Rene Ijzermans He is working on his second novelle, since years, and it seemed to get ready very soon, in Dutch ofcourse. But when?

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3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,406 ratings  ·  467 reviews


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Pvw
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychological
What is this Dutch obsession with problematic parental relationships and long kept family secrets? "Bonita Avenue" is about the fourth Dutch book in a row that I've read, and it's more of the same.

We have a main character, Siem Sigerius (silly and unlikely name, even in Dutch) who has a distorted relation with his daughter, ex-wife and son from a previous marriage. This Sigerius character is totally over the top. Buwalda wants to take on way too many subjects and centers them all in his main cha
...more
Mary Lins
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: complete
Readers who prefer straightforward plots and timelines, and who are bothered by having to read a while before the exposition becomes clear, and who need at least one "likable" character, may have a hard time with Peter Buwalda's novel, "Bonita Avenue", which has been translated from Dutch. The narrative jumps around in time and among characters so the reader must be patient and keep reading in order to "fill in" the lacunae.

This is one of those novels that give you a bit of a mental work out -
...more
Marc
Nov 29, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dutch-literature
Maybe it’s just me, or the time of the year, but this book really did not captivate me. Buwalda has certainly done his best to build an ingenious story: step-by-step he gives elements that shed new light on a problematic family history. The changes in perspective and the complications surrounding the dramatic firework disaster in Enschede in 2000 keep the suspense going. And the main character, mathematical genius, university teacher, media figure, and politician Siem Sigerius has enough psychol ...more
Mandy
May 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Peter Buwalda’s debut novel was published to widespread acclaim in his native Holland and has now made a similar impact worldwide. It is a sprawling, exuberant, wild ride of a novel, with twists and turns and a cast of eccentric characters, multi-layered and original. It’s the story of a dysfunctional family par excellence, headed by patriarch Siem Sigerius, a larger than life mathematical genius, judo champion, university professor and charismatic family man. When Aaron falls for Siem’s step-da ...more
Tikaa
Dec 17, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
*I received this book from Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review *

I received this novel a couple of months ago, and it's taken me THIS long to compose a review. First of all, I couldn't get passed 20 or so pages. I've been going back & forth with Bonita Avenue since it arrived on my doorstep, attempting to push through every couple of weeks. To be honest, I can't even tell you what BA is even about. The synopsis sells us a portrait of a beautiful, successful, well put together
...more
Vincent Blok
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Peter Buwalda’s “Bonita Avenue” or the level of Dutch literary criticism

“Nobody even played a role in one’s life, he realized once more” (Aaron)

It’s a shame that a book that is hailed by literary critics as a ‘great Dutch novel’ turns out to lack any depth. The family drama about a brilliant professor, his stepdaughter who features on the pornographic website he visits and his criminal son who tries to blackmail him is indeed excellently written in expressive prose. The main characters of the n
...more
Esil
Nov 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy of the English translation of this book. I wish I could read Dutch so that I could read more of the reviews posted on Goodreads. The English language reviews seem to be disproportionally negative. This is not an easy book to read because it jumps around in time and place, and none of the characters are simple or particularly likeable. But I found Bonita Avenue completely absorbing. The book focuses on the lives o ...more
Julie
Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwalda is a 2015 Hogarth- Crown Publishing release. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This book was originally published in 2010 and has been translated from Dutch into English. This is certainly one of the more unusual stories I have read in a while.

Siem Sigerius is the patriarch of a seemingly idealistic family. He has a solid marriage, two beautiful step- daughters, lives on a farm in the peaceful countryside, and is
...more
Kyle  Anne Uniss
The Dutch? What is it about the Dutch? First I read Herman Koch’s The Dinner and Summer House with Swimming Pool (which I reviewed here and here), which were good books, but verrry dark, all about really screwed up families. I mean really screwed up. And then I meet the Sigerius family in Bonita Avenue and realize how really screwed up they are. I mean REALLY screwed up. This is NOT a happy family. This is NOT a happy book.

But I think reading should stretch you, make you think, sometimes make yo
...more
Rosamund
Apr 05, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I feel a bit guilty marking this as "read" when I stopped properly reading halfway through (I have a policy on here of pretending books that I abandoned never happened). But by halfway, nothing had happened and nothing was making me care about the characters, of which there were about three or four too many. I skipped to the beginning of each subsequent chapter, skimmed a bit, and nope, nothing to make me regret giving up halfway. Too many good books out there.

Also, the (English) translati
...more
Sonja ✧ Badass Wanderer ✧
What are the odds of me actually finishing this 543-page book in time, instead of looking up the info online and pretending I've read the whole thing?

I'm currently reading Bonita Avenue for my Dutch literature course. I have to finish reading it before Friday, and then on Friday I have to present my analysis on the themes, motifs, et cetera.

Why didn't I read and prepare this earlier? Well, it might be due to the fact that I am a slight procrastinator. And with slight I mean huge *bats eyelashes
...more
Lekeisha The Booknerd
*I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review*

After reading this book, I can honestly say that I’d rather watch the Kardashian clan on E. As a family, they have morals and class compared to the Sigerius family. It was like watching a reality show; albeit a really screwed up one, but a reality show nonetheless. Though, those K’s aren’t as messed up in the head, they’d definitely give the Sigerius’s a run for their money.

Imagine yourself on your favorite porn site and coming across
...more
Emer Byrne
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Dutch boyfriend bought me this book in translation, having read it when it was released to great acclaim in Holland some years before. I was interested to read a Dutch novel, and was not disappointed! The humour, the strength of family ties and the little cultural things I'd witnessed when I visited the Netherlands were all there in the book, albeit in rather more extreme forms.

The narrative of the book is quite complex and I struggled with it when I initially tried to read the book without
...more
Anthony Crupi
This is the book Jonathan Franzen would write if he ditched the aviaphilia for a skimmer's interest in judo, real estate transactions, jazz, Sudoku and Internet pornography. (Or to put it another way, this is the sort of novel in which Wim Kok, Sasha Grey and Tyra Banks make cameo appearances for no good reason and Richard Feynman is name-dropped not once, but twice. Reading it is a bit like sitting in a train car with a sufferer of Tourette syndrome who subscribes to Elsevier, People magazine a ...more
Marla
I won this book on Goodreads and I always try to finish the books I win. But this one, even though I stuck with it for over 200 pages, was just a chaotic mess. It bounced around from one story or thought without warning even within a chapter. It went from current time to flashbacks but they didn't feel like flashbacks and a subject was covered and then quickly abandoned without any resolution.

It is totally confusing and I didn't care at all about the characters. I wasn't invested at all and whe
...more
Elizabeth
Jan 14, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It sounded like the perfect makings for a book. I doubt I can even say I "read" the book as I didn't even get 1/4 way in before quitting. Nothing in the book interested me. It was immediately confusing with the back and forth between present and past, person to person. I didn't know where I was or who I was with.

The characters weren't likeable, interesting, or real. I didn't care about their story at all. I didn't want to read 500+ pages about them.

I wonder if the book lost something in the tra
...more
Blue
Nov 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways-won
Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for a copy of Bonita Avenue in exchange of my honest review.

Buwalda's Bonita Avenue is promising at the start. But once 300 pages in, with almost another 300 left to read, one wonders what the point of it all is. It is one of those books that feels like everything is pretty much revealed by the middle. If there is some interesting twist or surprise later, I found myself thinking, I don't care. It is not to say that Buwalda does not build some interesting character
...more
Linda
Feb 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing seems to go right for these characters, especially the Sigerius family. The only time they were really a family and were happy was on Bonita Ave. in San Francisco. We're given glimpses of this life throughout the entire book.

Otherwise the characters are not likeable and are definitely not what they seem. This is a real plus in my world. You can't really guess what is going to be each character's downfall either. Or how the plot will twist.

We're given the story both in current and backwar
...more
Maarten
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I must admit it took me a while to finish this book (it's quite a big one), and although I struggled a bit to get through it, I can only conclude this is a work of genius. I write this review in English, but I read this book in its original language (Dutch) and I do think it can never be as good in English as it is in Dutch. Simply because the language Buwalda uses is so colourful, creative, complex and full of fantasy, that I think it impossible to translate this masterwork in any othe ...more
Danny
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was enticed by this novel due to the premise of a "dysfunctional family" and all of its drama. To be fair, the theme of a dysfunction did present itself, but the pace, timing and setting of this novel really diluted it for me. I have read other Dutch novels that have been translated into English, and now I strongly believe that the translation really does affect the smoothness of the novel.
I really wanted to love this novel, but unfortunately I just could not wait to finish it due to the lack
...more
Kasey Cocoa
If you can imagine a type of drama and chaos, it's likely somehow involved in this book. The family dynamic is a complete mess and only gets worse as the book goes on. The shifting about didn't help matters any. I found it difficult to connect with any of the characters, barely finishing the book after many eye-rolling moments. I believe there is an audience for this sort of book, it's just not for me. I received an ARC through Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. This in no way ...more
Stephanie
I read about 90% of this book & then just gave up. I liked the way the stories unfolded, and was very curious to see how a few of the plots were resolved. But the characters became less and less likable, and I therefore became less and less interested in how their stories got to their end-point. It turned into just an unpleasant mess with some unpleasant sexual encounters thrown in for ... gratuitous measure.

I wanted to like this, and I wanted to finish it. But neither happened.
Lynda
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found the book and the people depressingly nasty, hidden behind supposed humorous depiction. I liked the first chapter and that's where it ended. The idea of a mathematician with cauliflower ears really appealed to me - and that was the end of it. Mindless horrible violence, sado-machistic porn, schizophrenia, all described in great detail did little for my state of mind. I hope the Dutch have something better to offer me in the future.
Anna-Sofie
Aug 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A feat of strength, wild growing and epic story about the rise and fall of the Sigerius clan and its "hangarounds". Beautiful, cynical, highly disturbing, and absolutely well-written!
I enjoyed it very much, and the only reason it doesn't get five stars is that I felt it didn't tie all knots in the end...I still have unanswered questions, but it may be intentional?
Mandy
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really liked this book. You could see that it was a first novel, since Peter Buwalda tried to include a lot of different plotlines in one person. However, it did work out en it kept me fascinated throughout the whole book.
Amanda Valenti
Eh. It was okay for the first 300 pgs, but I couldn't stomach another 250 when you already know what happens at the end.
Krista
Apr 21, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I read the whole awful thing just to find out what happened. It wasn't anywhere near worth it. It's grim, gross, and utterly confusing.
Tricia
Feb 03, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like any of the characters enough to care what happened to them.
Christin
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever seen the movie Fargo? The one with Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, and William Macy which is the dark, horrific story of a kidnapping and murder gone wrong? In a way, Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwalda strikes me as something similar--how a seemingly ordinary, mundane existence with a woman at the center of the story, turns into something entirely unexpected, something so depraved it takes a while to get over the final scenes. Fargo’s woodchipper has nothing on Peter Buwalda’s novel ...more
Jaclyn
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what to make of this book.

On the one hand, it is a truly impressive debut novel. Well-honed, and the writing pulled me right in. The English translation reads wonderfully. Despite its considerable length, especially for an author's first published novel, I read Bonita Avenue rather quickly.

That said, all this skilled writing hangs on a plot that I struggled to find believable by the end. The one major aspect I found lacking in Bonita Avenue was contrast. As I read on, it seemed ever
...more
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Peter Buwalda is a Dutch writer. He was a journalist and an editor at several publishers. He was co-founder of literary music magazine Wah-Wah and wrote stories and essays for De Gids, Vrij Nederland, Bunker Hill and Hollands Maandblad. In September 2010 he made his debut with the novel Bonita Avenue. It received a magnificent reception and became a bestseller. It was awarded the Academica Debutan ...more
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“...Sigerius realized that every academic looked like every other academic."
- Bonita Avenue, p.49”
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