Thursday, May 12, 2016

Where'd You Go, Bernadette (Maria Semple)

To author Maria Semple’s credit, the reader never quite knows the direction that Where’d You Go, Bernadette is taking.  The novel was popular and continues to be so for a reason, as it’s highly original and probably like nothing you’ve ever read before.

Even though she used to be a gifted architect, Bernadette Fox is now a recluse, preferring to keep to herself in the Seattle that she despises. Her daughter, Bea, attends a hoity-toity private school, and all the other mothers there just don’t understand why Bernadette won’t get involved more.  Elgie is Bernadette’s husband and world renowned at Microsoft for his revolutionary TED Talk and invention.  Per Bea’s request, the family plans a trip to Antarctica, but Bernadette disappears before they can make it there together. 

Rather than write a straight narrative, Semple chooses to tell the story of Bernadette through Bea’s eyes, as well as through a series of e-mails, letters, and the like.  In this fashion, she manages to create a dynamic book that’s filled with black comedy and “I can’t believe she just said/did that” moments.  It shouldn’t work, but it does, so just read it! You won’t be disappointed in this very unique book.