Growing up in Malibu as the daughter of an English scientist, Bernadette was surrounded by brains, books, inventions and famous people, and has been recording the fanciful adventures of her avant-garde family since childhood.
Her father, Bernard Benson, wrote the classics 'Alice in Plunderland,' an economic satire, and 'The Peace Book,' produced as a play at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Pope Paul II reviewed The Peace Book, resulting in a private audience with Bernard.
Bernadette's English grandfather, Robert Saville, wrote the definitive handbook on identifying enemy aircraft during world war I.
Born in England, raised in California and France, Bernadette now resides between Westport, MA and the Bahamas.
REVIEW By Anne Loughrey (North Bay, ON Canada)
Truth Is Often Wilder Than Fiction, April 26, 2012
I had to keep reminding myself that this story of B. Benson's life was not fiction.
Her father was an original, accomplished and dominant man. He lived life with huge dramatic gestures that precipitated wonderland opportunities, humorous events and painful traumas for his wife and seven children.
Bernadette's childhood was spent in a Malibu beach house among famous family friends, antique luxury cars, horses and riding stables. Her innocent involvement in her parents infidelities has her sent away to a Dickensonian boarding school. When her father becomes enamored of a hilltop castle in France, he moves the family there. The move to this exotic setting is the catalyst for the mother's banishment from the family.
At one point, father goes to Tibet and returns with a community of Buddhist lamas whom he invites to settle on the castle grounds. Some of Bernadette's siblings find relief in the serenity of Buddhist wisdom, but not Bernadette.
The child raised in high drama goes on to recreate it in her adult life, in her travels, her work, and in her marriage in the Bahamas. When she has a daughter of her own, she struggles to avoid the mistakes of her parents.
The humor, resourcefulness and humanity Bernadette shows in dealing with her roller-coaster ride of a life make a fascinating story, which she tells with imaginative word-play.
Her descriptions are full of superlatives, an understandable outcome of her upbringing.
I found this true story is particularly captivating. I hope she writes a sequel.