Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, BernadetteWhere’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved the structure of this book – as we piece together what happened through a variety of written correspondence. I loved the character of Bee, and her relationship with Bernadette. The social satire was very funny. I would have given this 5 stars until it went off the rails about two-thirds through the book. At that point, the evolving situation became a bit too absurd to be funny, and Bernadette’s POV began to overshadow Bee’s. The overall takeaway seems to be “Don’t believe anything you think you know about anybody.” The ending was too big a shift for me, and didn’t resolve any of the heavier issues that still face the family. Perhaps that hints at a sequel?

Book description: Bernadette is a frightfully intelligent wife and mother whose intense allergy to Seattle specifically, and to people in general, has driven her to hire a virtual assistant in India to execute even her most basic tasks. Then her daughter, Bee, insists on a family trip to Antarctica as her reward for getting perfect grades in middle school, and Bernadette is faced with the daunting prospect of actual human interaction. On the verge of a breakdown, Bernadette vanishes, leaving her Microsoft-guru husband, a horde of angry parents, and questioning police officers to pick up the pieces. Desperate to find her mother, Bee probes her emails, invoices, school memos, private correspondence, and other evidence, conjuring out of those shards a portrait of a woman she never knew before–and a secret that could explain everything.

Audiobook narrated by Kathleen Wilhoite.