Fun With Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, BernadetteThis weekend I finished Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and I really liked it? Is it over the top and a little ridiculous at times? Sure, but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

The novel is centers around Bernadette Fox, daughter Bee, and husband Elgie. Bernadette was once a famous architect and a MacArthur genius award-winner who stops creating and flees to Seattle with her family after a project near to her heart is destroyed. Elgie, a genius himself, becomes a “rock star” at Microsoft. Bee too is genius like and excels at the private school she attends. Her parents promised Bee that if she got straight A’s she could have whatever she wanted. Her request: A trip to Antartica.

The story is mostly told through a set of documents Bee has ostensibly collected to reconstruct the story of her mother’s downward spiral and resulting disappearance. There are emails, articles, transcripts, etc. which all paint the picture of Bernadette’s craziness. But she’s hardly the only one to blame in the mess.

I am a sucker for a precocious child narrator so I loved Bee. And while the document style of writing keeps you a little detached from the characters, I thought it made for a quick read without sacrificing the plot. A series of crazy events happen, yet they all seem to make perfect sense in the scheme of things. All in all, it was just fun and I’d recommend it.

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