There very few books that have ever made me laugh out loud. I think it’s fair to say that most fictional novels; while they may have humorous plots, don’t always provide the same instant comical reaction as say your favorite sitcom. Where’d you go, Bernadette? is the newest novel from accomplished screenwriter and author Maria Semple.
Where’d you go, Bernadette? is the entertaining and captivating story of Bernadette Fox, a mother, wife, and former architect who mysteriously disappears. In order to find her mother, Bernadette’s daughter Bee must piece together a series of events and clues. First let me start by saying this book was a breath of fresh air when compared to today’s current fiction landscape. Maria Semple’s writing style immediately captures the reader’s attention through vivid descriptive accounts. I really enjoyed how Maria was able to effectively tell Bernadette’s story through the use of different character viewpoints, first person, and as well as email correspondence. By utilizing a variety of narrative devices Maria creates a story full of humor, excitement, and intrigue.
The story starts off with Bernadette in the midst of planning a trip to Antarctica with her husband Elgin Branch and daughter Bee. While the novel’s plot takes the reader on an adventure spanning three continents the majority of the novel’s plot takes place in Seattle Washington where the Fox’s live in a distinctly unique home. While Bernadette is an accomplished architect turned housewife, her husband is a highly regarded tech expert who works at Microsoft. What I enjoyed most about this book was the breadth and depth of the story’s characters. Maria omits no small details in describing each character in great length while seamlessly tying the whole story together. Although some readers may find the character of Bernadette to be a bit unconventional (and at times far fetched), I found she provided the most levity to the story while providing the most comic relief.
I couldn’t put this book down which is why I highly recommend it. It’s no surprise that Maria has written for notable comedic shows such as Arrested Development as the story is smart, funny, and quick witted. While the narrative is descriptive the general tone of the story allows itself to be a great beach or summer read. Happy Reading!