Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple (2012)



This book was pure fun. This crazy story is told through emails, letters, faxes, personal notes, legal and medical transcripts, financial documents, and occasionally Bee’s narration. The premise: Bernadette Fox, a renown architect 20 years ago, struggles to get through each day. She’s agoraphobic and a hermit, except for taking Bee to her private Seattle school every day where Bernadette calls the other moms ‘gnats’ for their annoying behavior and intolerance of anyone who doesn’t volunteer on a regular basis and take part in school gossip.  Her husband is a big whig at Microsoft and rarely around, though it’s clear they once had a close relationship, and her daughter Bee is a star student, and her mom’s closest friend. Bernadette has gone off the rails, suffering from insomnia and anxiety and is supposed to go on a promised trip to Antarctica with Elgie and Bee, but she can’t quite go through with it. Until she does. And then goes missing. This is kind of a mystery, a drama, and a crisis novel. It’s funny, sad, horrifying, and witty. Bernadette is likable and hilarious but also terribly sick. And Bee is mature, smart, and clever, but also overlooked.

The character development–much of it done through the above mentioned documents–is wonderful and the swipes at Seattle, its private school and Craftsman houses is hilarious. I so enjoyed the complexity of the characters, the unique plot, and the light-heartedness of this. This is a great summer read. Or just a great break from heavier stuff. Apparently it was turned into a movie, but the reviews are poor, so I don’t plan to watch it.  The book is too good to be ruined as a film.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s