Where’d You Go, Bernadette.

by Mindy @ Just A One Girl Revolution on February 5, 2014

in Reviews

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is a book that I heard a lot of buzz about in 2013 and never got around to reading it.  A couple weeks ago, Shauna Niequist listed it as one of her top five favorite books of the year, that was a game changer.  Shauna is one of those people in my life that even though I don’t personally know her, I hold her recommendations in high regard.

where'd you go, bernadette

(source)

I am so incredibly glad I read it, because I totally get the hype now.  Bernadette Fox is a bit of a recluse in Seattle, living with her husband, Elgie, and precocious daughter, Bee.  She is a former rising star in the architecture world, who now struggles with even the most basic of social interactions.  Things began to really fall apart when Bee earned a family trip to Antarctica with her good grades.  Just before the family is set to depart on their cruise, Bernadette disappears.  Bee pieces together letters, emails, and any correspondence she can get her hands on to track down her missing mother.

The characters that Semple created are completely over-the-top and in almost any other book, it would have been almost overbearing.  Yet, she made it work so well.  Semple wrote for the show Arrested Development, so the character development in her novel aligns well with the bold, outrageous Bluth family.  The antics and personalities become almost endearing, particularly that of Bee, who so clearly adores her mother.  I couldn’t help but rooting for Bee to find her mother, as she never gave up hope that it was a possibility, despite everyone around her almost insistent it wasn’t.  Where’d You Go, Bernadette is an easy, lighthearted, laugh out loud story.  I did find the second half of the book to be slightly less engaging than the first half, particularly with a storyline related to Elgin that didn’t really seem to add to the plot at all.

This would be a great summer beach read.

4 out of 5 stars.

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Ashley @ Brocblog February 5, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I read this book last summer and loved it, you’re right it was a total beach read. I agree that the second half (especially the Elgie storyline) was a little slow but overall I thought it was a great book. I think Bernadette is one of my favorite book characters in a while.
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Danielle February 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I read this over the summer, and really enjoyed it too! I loved the mix of letters and emails to help tell the story. It was a perfect, quick summer read for me. I agree that the second half wasn’t as good as the first though.
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Casey @ Salted Plates February 5, 2014 at 7:01 pm

it’s been on my list for a while too! I need to get to it
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Katie @ Live Half Full February 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm

I can’t WAIT to read this book! I have a hold on it at the library, so one day soon. I just checked out The Interestings, which I’m very excited to read!
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Shelley February 9, 2014 at 12:35 am

Have seen this book recommended on more than one site. Am always up for a light funny read. Thanks.

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