Book Review: Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple


Bee is a gifted young woman. She is at the top of her class in her private school. Her parents promised her a gift of her choice should she graduate with honors … of course she does well and asked for her wish… a cruise to Antartica. She asks her parents and they can't think of a reason to say no. Bee has been accepted to a ivy league boarding school (by her choice not her parents) and she wants to have an adventure with them before she leaves.

Bee and her parents live in an dilapidated mansion in Seattle, WA. Her mom, Bernadette, is a bit of an odd duck. Bee loves her mom, she considers her to be her best friend, confidant, and co-conspirator. Then one day Bernadette disappears and Bee is left trying to pick up the pieces and clues as to where her mom ran off too. In reviewing the electronic footprints of her mother, she finds some strange e-mails between Bernadette and her Indian personal assistance Manjula. Bernadette, has completely outsourced her life to Manjula. Elgin, Bee's father, is a genius Microsoft employee. He works the majority of the time leaving Bee and her mom alone together. As we find through Bee's research, her mom had an interesting past. Bernadette was once a Macarthur grant winner, but now she is a recluse. So much so that she is completely uninvolved at her daughters school. Her philosophy is to write a check so that folks will leave her alone. There are two "gnats" from the school that just won't leave her life alone, Audrey and Soo-lin. Audrey is clearly insane. She is one of those people who has so little to do in her own life that she completely attaches herself to the idea of stirring up trouble in Bernadette's life. Bernadette's reaction to Audrey ends up getting her in hot water with Elgin. Elign's misinformation begins to accumulate and Bernadette's life spirals out of control.

I loved this book. It's fun and smart. I really adored Bernadette. I know she's a bit crazy but she's a good mom and seems like the type of person I would want to know, especially if espionage is required.

Favorite quote:

"You think it's boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it's on you to make life interesting, the better off you'll be."

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