Friday, March 15, 2013

Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Book Review

Book: Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Author: Maria Semple
Publisher/Publish Date: Little, Brown and Company / December 21, 2012
Source: SF Public Library
Pages: 336
Rating: 5/5
Other books from author: This One is Mine. Also, the author wrote for Arrested Development, if that gives you a taste for the style of this book.
GoodReads  •  Amazon

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. (Description via GoodReads)

** spoiler alert ** 
Loved it! Great story and a quick read. I stayed up way past my bedtime finishing this book. And I'm afraid this review makes it seem a lot more serious then it is, but trust me, it's light-hearted and fun.

The story, told mostly in emails, letters and notes from the daughter, tells the story of a wife's disappearance after a series of unfortunate events. Many of the characters are zany and over the top, but with enough truth to ground them in reality. How the story is told leaves some cracks, which are filled in at the end of the story and adds mystery and suspense. Especially funny is the stories of the suburban moms, and the importance they put on their school and school events and what the leads to some very interesting situations (I think a map of the neighborhood would have helped me understand how the mud slide would have actually happen.)

Much of the arc of the book evolves around a trip to Antarctica the family is planning and it made me want to look into cruises to Antarctica:)

My only complaint is that the time between when she left LA till the time of the story seems a bit long. I think it would have made more sense and easier to comprehend if it was only 10 years or less.

** Perfect for a vacation

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