Thursday, June 13, 2013

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: a review

Author: Maria Semple
On Goodreads
Info: Little, Brown and Company, copyright 2012, 330 pages
Awards: Alex Award Nominee

Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

~Goodreads Description~ 

The Breakdown
Bee's mother is missing.  She was her mother's shining achievement.  She wouldn't just up and leave.  Would she?  So Bee goes through the evidence (a series of letters, faxes, emails, and official reports) that detail the last few weeks before her mother disappeared.  But is it too little too late?

The Awesome
Mostly told through email and correspondence, this is a super quick read.  Bee is intelligent and loving, and Bernadette is lovingly intelligent and lost.  They make a great pair.  Witty, yet surprisingly realistic, Semple does a hilarious job detailing the pressures of home ownership and the difficulties of parent-teacher organizations.

The Not So Awesome
Other than the fact that I would NEVER want to be cornered by Bernadette (or work with her...or do anything that would anger her), the book was pretty cool.  Weird.  But pretty cool.

What a strange book.  The premise was strange, the setup was strange, and the characters were strange.  But it's a good strange.  For a fun, fast-paced read with a quirky flare, pick up Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

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