Where’d You Go, Bernadette is a new novel by Maria Semple. Before I tell you more about this book, here’s a summary:
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.
This book is in a different format than usual, with faxes, emails and some narrative from Bernadette’s daughter Bee. Sometimes I find this way of writing awkward, but Semple does a great job with it and it just plain works with this plot and the characters. When you look at the fact that Bernadette’s husband is a mastermind at Microsoft, the electronically conveyed portions make even more sense. After all, who is more apt to use non-traditional forms of writing than the daughter of a man who is a computer marvel?
I found the descriptions of Bee’s school to be absolutely hilarious, especially when juxtaposed next to the description of Seattle’s usual residents – not all the type of fashion and beauty upkeep you would expect from such a pretentious school where the kids go on to boarding schools.
I don’t usually find architecture interesting but this book made it much more so. I realize it was meant to make it wild and crazy, but it really did make me think more about the design of houses and buildings.
I also enjoyed the foreign virtual assistant aspect. I have read about these virtual assistants in the past and I find it amusing that Bernadette totally relied on one for everything, even an as a therapist of sorts.
I really enjoyed Where’d You Go, Bernadette and will be checking out more of Maria Semple’s novels. Do you want to learn more about the book and Maria Semple? Here’s some links:
- Read an excerpt
- Listen to an audiobook excerpt
- Maria Semple’s Facebook page
- Where’d You Go, Bernadette Facebook page
The publisher is also supplying 3 copies for me to give away! To enter, just use the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US and Canada, 18 and over, no PO boxes – if you don’t have an alternate address to send a prize to, please do not enter. Contest ends 8/30, 11:59 PM EDT. Good luck!
I was given a copy of this book in order to provide a review. This did not influence my opinion in any way. All thoughts are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.